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Legendary Passages - Greek/Roman Myths
15 minutes | Aug 29, 2020
LP0117 plLoT26 Antiope & Pirithous
Legendary Passages #0117,Plutarch's Life of Theseus,Section [XXVI.],Antiope & Pirithous. Previously, Theseus was crowned king of Athens after returning from the labyrinth without Ariadne. In this passage he loved and lost the amazon princess known as Antiope; and befriended Pirithous, whom he would follow into the depths of Hades itself.Antiope & Pirithous,a Legendary Passage from,Bernadotte Perrin translating,Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus,Life of Theseus,Sections [XXVI.] - [XXX.]http://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html He also made a voyage into the Euxine Sea, as Philochorus and sundry others say, on a campaign with Heracles against the Amazons, and received Antiope as a reward of his valor; but the majority of writers, including Pherecydes, Hellanicus, and Herodorus, say that Theseus made this voyage on his own account, after the time of Heracles, and took the Amazon captive; and this is the more probable story. For it is not recorded that any one else among those who shared his expedition took an Amazon captive. And Bion says that even this Amazon he took and carried off by means of a stratagem. The Amazons, he says, were naturally friendly to men, and did not fly from Theseus when he touched upon their coasts, but actually sent him presents, and he invited the one who brought them to come on board his ship; she came on board, and he put out to sea. And a certain Menecrates, who published a history of the Bithynian city of Nicaea, says that Theseus, with Antiope on board his ship, spent some time in those parts, and that there chanced to be with him on this expedition three young men of Athens who were brothers, Euneos, Thoas, and Solois. This last, he says, fell in love with Antiope unbeknown to the rest, and revealed his secret to one of his intimate friends. That friend made overtures to Antiope, who positively repulsed the attempt upon her, but treated the matter with discretion and gentleness, and made no denunciation to Theseus. Then Solois, in despair, threw himself into a river and drowned himself, and Theseus, when he learned the fate of the young man, and what had caused it, was grievously disturbed, and in his distress called to mind a certain oracle which he had once received at Delphi. For it had there been enjoined upon him by the Pythian priestess that when, in a strange land, he should be sorest vexed and full of sorrow, he should found a city there, and leave some of his followers to govern it. For this cause he founded a city there, and called it, from the Pythian god, Pythopolis, and the adjacent river, Solois, in honor of the young man. And he left there the brothers of Solois, to be the city's presidents and law-givers, and with them Hermus, one of the noblemen of Athens. From him also the Pythopolitans call a place in the city the House of Hermes, incorrectly changing the second syllable, and transferring the honor from a hero to a god. Well, then, such were the grounds for the war of the Amazons, which seems to have been no trivial nor womanish enterprise for Theseus. For they would not have pitched their camp within the city, nor fought hand to hand battles in the neighborhood of the Pnyx and the Museum, had they not mastered the surrounding country and approached the city with impunity. Whether, now, as Hellanicus writes, they came round by the Cimmerian Bosporus, which they crossed on the ice, may be doubted; but the fact that they encamped almost in the heart of the city is attested both by the names of the localities there and by the graves of those who fell in battle. Now for a long time there was hesitation and delay on both sides in making the attack, but finally Theseus, after sacrificing to Fear, in obedience to an oracle, joined battle with the women. This battle, then, was fought on the day of the month Boedromion on which, down to the present time, the Athenians celebrate the Boedromia. Cleidemus, who wishes to be minute, writes that the left wing of the Amazons extended to what is now called the Amazoneum, and that with their right they touched the Pnyx at Chrysa; that with this left wing the Athenians fought, engaging the Amazons from the Museum, and that the graves of those who fell are on either side of the street which leads to the gate by the chapel of Chalcodon, which is now called the Peiraic gate. Here, he says, the Athenians were routed and driven back by the women as far as the shrine of the Eumenides, but those who attacked the invaders from the Palladium and Ardettus and the Lyceum, drove their right wing back as far as to their camp, and slew many of them. And after three months, he says, a treaty of peace was made through the agency of Hippolyta; for Hippolyta is the name which Cleidemus gives to the Amazon whom Theseus married, not Antiope. But some say that the woman was slain with a javelin by Molpadia, while fighting at Theseus's side, and that the pillar which stands by the sanctuary of Olympian Earth was set up in her memory. And it is not astonishing that history, when dealing with events of such great antiquity, should wander in uncertainty, indeed, we are also told that the wounded Amazons were secretly sent away to Chalcis by Antiope, and were nursed there, and some were buried there, near what is now called the Amazoneum. But that the war ended in a solemn treaty is attested not only by the naming of the place adjoining the Theseum, which is called Horcomosium, but also by the sacrifice which, in ancient times, was offered to the Amazons before the festival of Theseus. And the Megarians, too, show a place in their country where Amazons were buried, on the way from the market-place to the place called Rhus, where the Rhomboid stands. And it is said, likewise, that others of them died near Chaeroneia, and were buried on the banks of the little stream which, in ancient times, as it seems, was called Thermodon, but nowadays, Haemon; concerning which names I have written in my Life of Demosthenes. It appears also that not even Thessaly was traversed by the Amazons without opposition, for Amazonian graves are to this day shown in the vicinity of Scotussa and Cynoscephalae. So much, then, is worthy of mention regarding the Amazons. For the Insurrection of the Amazons, written by the author of the Theseid, telling how, when Theseus married Phaedra, Antiope and the Amazons who fought to avenge her attacked him, and were slain by Heracles, has every appearance of fable and invention. Theseus did, indeed, marry Phaedra, but this was after the death of Antiope, and he had a son by Antiope, Hippolytus, or, as Pindar says, Demophoon. As for the calamities which befell Phaedra and the son of Theseus by Antiope, since there is no conflict here between historians and tragic poets, we must suppose that they happened as represented by the poets uniformly. There are, however, other stories also about marriages of Theseus which were neither honorable in their beginnings nor fortunate in their endings, but these have not been dramatized. For instance, he is said to have carried off Anaxo, a maiden of Troezen, and after slaying Sinis and Cercyon to have ravished their daughters; also to have married Periboea, the mother of Aias, and Phereboea afterwards, and Iope, the daughter of Iphicles; and because of his passion for Aegle, the daughter of Panopeus, as I have already said, he is accused of the desertion of Ariadne, which was not honorable nor even decent; and finally, his rape of Helen is said to have filled Attica with war, and to have brought about at last his banishment and death, of which things I shall speak a little later. Of the many exploits performed in those days by the bravest men, Herodorus thinks that Theseus took part in none, except that he aided the Lapithae in their war with the Centaurs; but others say that he was not only with Jason at Colchis, but helped Meleager to slay the Calydonian boar, and that hence arose the proverb “Not without Theseus”; that he himself, however, without asking for any ally, performed many glorious exploits, and that the phrase “Lo! another Heracles” became current with reference to him. He also aided Adrastus in recovering for burial the bodies of those who had fallen before the walls of the Cadmeia, not by mastering the Thebans in battle, as Euripides has it in his tragedy, but by persuading them to a truce; for so most writers say, and Philochorus adds that this was the first truce ever made for recovering the bodies of those slain in battle, although in the accounts of Heracles it is written that Heracles was the first to give back their dead to his enemies. And the graves of the greater part of those who fell before Thebes are shown at Eleutherae, and those of the commanders near Eleusis, and this last burial was a favour which Theseus showed to Adrastus. The account of Euripides in his Suppliants is disproved by that of Aeschylus in his Eleusinians, where Theseus is made to relate the matter as above. The friendship of Peirithous and Theseus is said to have come about in the following manner. Theseus had a very great reputation for strength and bravery, and Peirithous was desirous of making test and proof of it. Accordingly, he drove Theseus's cattle away from Marathon, and when he learned that their owner was pursuing him in arms, he did not fly, but turned back and met him. When, however, each beheld the other with astonishment at his beauty and admiration of his daring, they refrained from battle, and Peirithous, stretching out his hand the first, bade Theseus himself be judge of his robbery, for he would willingly submit to any penalty which the other might assign. Then Theseus not only remitted his penalty, but invited him to be a friend and brother in arms; whereupon they ratified their friendship with oaths. After this, when Peirithous was about to marry Deidameia, he asked Theseus to come to the wedding, and see the country, and become acquainted with the Iapithae. Now he had invited the Centaurs also to the wedding feast. And when these were flown with insolence and wine, and laid hands upon the women, the Lapithae took vengeance upon them. Some of them they slew upon the spo
15 minutes | Jul 2, 2020
LP0116 LoAE-1-5 Epitome of Theseus
Legendary Passages #0116,Pseudo-Apollodorus,The Library Epitome [E.1.5],Epitome of Theseus. Previously, Theseus discovered his origins and journeyed to Athens. In this passage, he expelled Medea, fought the Minotaur, and had many adventures as King, most ending in disaster. After sacrificing the Marathonian Bull, Theseus was recognized by his father Aegeus. He sailed to Crete, and navigated the Labyrinth with a spool of thread called a 'clue' given to him by Ariadne. He was going to marry her, but after Dionysus carried her off, Theseus forgot to change the sail, and thinking his son dead, Aegeus jumped to his death. Ariadne learned how to master the Labyrinth from Daedalus, who was then imprisoned by Minos. Daedalus escaped by building wings, but his son Icarus fell into the sea. After tracking him down in Camicus, Minos died in boiling bath. Theseus joined Hercules on his eighth labor to retrieve the Girdle of the Amazon Queen Hippolyte, and fell in love with her sister Antiope. They had a son Hippolytus, but when the Amazons invaded Athens to rescue her, she died. Eventually Theseus married Ariadne's sister Phaedra, but she fell in love with Hippolytus, got rejected, accused him of assault, and hanged herself. Theseus cursed his son, so Poseidon caused the death of Hippolytus. Next was the Centauromachy, where Theseus and his friend Pirithous fought the centaurs, descended from Ixion and Nebula, a cloud formed in the image of Hera. Fighting along side them was Caeneus, who was transformed by Poseidon from a woman into a man, but was killed by the centaurs. Both widowers, Theseus and Pirithous vowed to aid each other to marry daughters of Zeus. His friend wanted Persephone, wife of Hades, so they went down into the underworld. They were both captured and held fast in magical chairs. Fortunately, for his twelfth labor, Hercules went to Hades and rescued Theseus... but they could not save Pirithous. Before Hades, Theseus had kidnapped the future Helen of Troy. Her brothers the Dioscuri besieged Athens, rescued Helen, enslaved Theseus' mother Aethra, and made Menestheus king. Dethroned, he sought refuge with King Lycomedes, but he pushed Theseus off a cliff.Epitome of Theseusa Legendary Passage from,J. G. Frazer translating,Pseudo-Apollodorus,The Library Epitome,[E.1.5] - [E.2.3]https://www.theoi.com/Text/ApollodorusE.html But Medea, being then wedded to Aegeus, plotted against him and persuaded Aegeus to beware of him as a traitor. And Aegeus, not knowing his own son, was afraid and sent him against the Marathonian bull. And when Theseus had killed it, Aegeus presented to him a poison which he had received the selfsame day from Medea. But just as the draught was about to be administered to him, he gave his father the sword, and on recognizing it Aegeus dashed the cup from his hands. And when Theseus was thus made known to his father and informed of the plot, he expelled Medea. And he was numbered among those who were to be sent as the third tribute to the Minotaur; or, as some affirm, he offered himself voluntarily. And as the ship had a black sail, Aegeus charged his son, if he returned alive, to spread white sails on the ship. And when he came to Crete, Ariadne, daughter of Minos, being amorously disposed to him, offered to help him if he would agree to carry her away to Athens and have her to wife. Theseus having agreed on oath to do so, she besought Daedalus to disclose the way out of the labyrinth. And at his suggestion she gave Theseus a clue when he went in; Theseus fastened it to the door, and, drawing it after him, entered in. And having found the Minotaur in the last part of the labyrinth, he killed him by smiting him with his fists; and drawing the clue after him made his way out again. And by night he arrived with Ariadne and the children at Naxos. There Dionysus fell in love with Ariadne and carried her off; and having brought her to Lemnos he enjoyed her, and begat Thoas, Staphylus, Oenopion, and Peparethus. In his grief on account of Ariadne, Theseus forgot to spread white sails on his ship when he stood for port; and Aegeus, seeing from the acropolis the ship with a black sail, supposed that Theseus had perished; so he cast himself down and died. But Theseus succeeded to the sovereignty of Athens, and killed the sons of Pallas, fifty in number; likewise all who would oppose him were killed by him, and he got the whole government to himself. On being apprized of the flight of Theseus and his company, Minos shut up the guilty Daedalus in the labyrinth, along with his son Icarus, who had been borne to Daedalus by Naucrate, a female slave of Minos. But Daedalus constructed wings for himself and his son, and enjoined his son, when he took to flight, neither to fly high, lest the glue should melt in the sun and the wings should drop off, nor to fly near the sea, lest the pinions should be detached by the damp. But the infatuated Icarus, disregarding his father's injunctions, soared ever higher, till, the glue melting, he fell into the sea called after him Icarian, and perished. But Daedalus made his way safely to Camicus in Sicily. And Minos pursued Daedalus, and in every country that he searched he carried a spiral shell and promised to give a great reward to him who should pass a thread through the shell, believing that by that means he should discover Daedalus. And having come to Camicus in Sicily, to the court of Cocalus, with whom Daedalus was concealed, he showed the spiral shell. Cocalus took it, and promised to thread it, and gave it to Daedalus; and Daedalus fastened a thread to an ant, and, having bored a hole in the spiral shell, allowed the ant to pass through it. But when Minos found the thread passed through the shell, he perceived that Daedalus was with Cocalus, and at once demanded his surrender. Cocalus promised to surrender him, and made an entertainment for Minos; but after his bath Minos was undone by the daughters of Cocalus; some say, however, that he died through being drenched with boiling water. Theseus joined Hercules in his expedition against the Amazons and carried off Antiope, or, as some say, Melanippe; but Simonides calls her Hippolyte. Wherefore the Amazons marched against Athens, and having taken up a position about the Areopagus they were vanquished by the Athenians under Theseus. And though he had a son Hippolytus by the Amazon, Theseus afterwards received from Deucalion in marriage Phaedra, daughter of Minos; and when her marriage was being celebrated, the Amazon that had before been married to him appeared in arms with her Amazons, and threatened to kill the assembled guests. But they hastily closed the doors and killed her. However, some say that she was slain in battle by Theseus. And Phaedra, after she had borne two children, Acamas and Demophon, to Theseus, fell in love with the son he had by the Amazon, to wit, Hippolytus, and besought him to lie with her. Howbeit, he fled from her embraces, because he hated all women. But Phaedra, fearing that he might accuse her to his father, cleft open the doors of her bed-chamber, rent her garments, and falsely charged Hippolytus with an assault. Theseus believed her and prayed to Poseidon that Hippolytus might perish. So, when Hippolytus was riding in his chariot and driving beside the sea, Poseidon sent up a bull from the surf, and the horses were frightened, the chariot dashed in pieces, and Hippolytus, entangled in the reins, was dragged to death. And when her passion was made public, Phaedra hanged herself. Ixion fell in love with Hera and attempted to force her; and when Hera reported it, Zeus, wishing to know if the thing were so, made a cloud in the likeness of Hera and laid it beside him; and when Ixion boasted that he had enjoyed the favours of Hera, Zeus bound him to a wheel, on which he is whirled by winds through the air; such is the penalty he pays. And the cloud, impregnated by Ixion, gave birth to Centaurus. And Theseus allied himself with Pirithous, when he engaged in war against the centaurs. For when Pirithous wooed Hippodamia, he feasted the centaurs because they were her kinsmen. But being unaccustomed to wine, they made themselves drunk by swilling it greedily, and when the bride was brought in, they attempted to violate her. But Pirithous, fully armed, with Theseus, joined battle with them, and Theseus killed many of them. Caeneus was formerly a woman, but after that Poseidon had intercourse with her, she asked to become an invulnerable man; wherefore in the battle with the centaurs he thought scorn of wounds and killed many of the centaurs; but the rest of them surrounded him and by striking him with fir trees buried him in the earth. Having made a compact with Pirithous that they would marry daughters of Zeus, Theseus, with the help of Pirithous, carried off Helen from Sparta for himself, when she was twelve years old, and in the endeavor to win Persephone as a bride for Pirithous he went down to Hades. And the Dioscuri, with the Lacedaemonians and Arcadians, captured Athens and carried away Helen, and with her Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, into captivity; but Demophon and Acamas fled. And the Dioscuri also brought back Menestheus from exile, and gave him the sovereignty of Athens. But when Theseus arrived with Pirithous in Hades, he was beguiled; for, on the pretence that they were about to partake of good cheer, Hades bade them first be seated on the Chair of Forgetfulness, to which they grew and were held fast by coils of serpents. Pirithous, therefore, remained bound for ever, but Hercules brought Theseus up and sent him to Athens. Thence he was driven by Menestheus and went to Lycomedes, who threw him down an abyss and killed him.https://www.theoi.com/Text/ApollodorusE.htmlThis passage continues with Tantalus and Pelops, but in our next episode Theseus is introduced to Anitope & Pirithous.
14 minutes | Jun 24, 2020
LP0115 plLoT22 The Ship of Theseus
Legendary Passages #0115,Plutarch's Life of Theseus,Section [XXII.],The Ship of Theseus. Previously, Theseus returned from the Labyrinth, only to find his father Aegeus had jumped off the Sounion Cliffs, thinking him dead. In this passage, the people of Athens welcome the reign of their new king and his many innovations. Not only had Theseus seemingly returned from dead, but so had the thirteen other boys and girls from the tribute to Minos. Many new traditions began with their return: funny cross-dressing for the boys who had snuck aboard as girls, a makeshift stew the youths had cobbled together in the Labyrinth, and a feast celebrating their miraculous return. Even the ship of tribute was preserved for centuries, new wood replacing old, until nothing was left of the original. King Theseus resettled the population of Attica, even inviting foreigners to rededicate Athens as a city proper. The people were split into three classes: nobility, tradesmen, and craftsmen. He instituted democratic reforms and self-rule, but preserved his military authority. And lastly, for his dedication to agriculture, or in memory of the Marathonian Bull, or perhaps Taurus, the general of Minos, Athenian coins where stamped with the image of an bull, and referred to as oxen.The Ship of Theseus,a Legendary Passage from,Bernadotte Perrin translating,Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus,Life of Theseus,Sections [XXII.] - [XXV.]https://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html The messenger found many of the people bewailing the death of their king, and others full of joy at his tidings, as was natural, and eager to welcome him and crown him with garlands for his good news. The garlands, then, he accepted, and twined them about his herald's staff and on returning to the sea-shore, finding that Theseus had not yet made his libations to the gods, remained outside the sacred precincts, not wishing to disturb the sacrifice. But when the libations were made, he announced the death of Aegeus. Thereupon, with tumultuous lamentation, they went up in haste to the city. Whence it is, they say, that to this day, at the festival of the Oschophoria, it is not the herald that is crowned, but his herald's staff, and those who are present at the libations cry out: “Eleleu! Iou! Iou!” the first of which cries is the exclamation of eager haste and triumph, the second of consternation and confusion. After burying his father, Theseus paid his vows to Apollo on the seventh day of the month Pyanepsion; for on that day they had come back to the city in safety. Now the custom of boiling all sorts of pulse on that day is said to have arisen from the fact that the youths who were brought safely back by Theseus put what was left of their provisions into one mess, boiled it in one common pot, feasted upon it, and ate it all up together. At that feast they also carry the so-called eiresione, which is a bough of olive wreathed with wool, such as Theseus used at the time of his supplication, and laden with all sorts of fruit-offerings, to signify that scarcity was at an end, and as they go they sing: --Eiresione for us brings figs and bread of the richest, brings us honey in pots and oil to rub off from the body, strong wine too in a beaker, that one may go to bed mellow. Some writers, however, say that these rites are in memory of the Heracleidae, who were maintained in this manner by the Athenians; but most put the matter as I have done.XXIII. The ship on which Theseus sailed with the youths and returned in safety, the thirty-oared galley, was preserved by the Athenians down to the time of Demetrius Phalereus. They took away the old timbers from time to time, and put new and sound ones in their places, so that the vessel became a standing illustration for the philosophers in the mooted question of growth, some declaring that it remained the same, others that it was not the same vessel. It was Theseus who instituted also the Athenian festival of the Oschophoria. For it is said that he did not take away with him all the maidens on whom the lot fell at that time, but picked out two young men of his acquaintance who had fresh and girlish faces, but eager and manly spirits, and changed their outward appearance almost entirely by giving them warn baths and keeping them out of the sun, by arranging their hair, and by smoothing their skin and beautifying their complexions with unguents; he also taught them to imitate maidens as closely as possible in their speech, their dress, and their gait, and to leave no difference that could be observed, and then enrolled them among the maidens who were going to Crete, and was undiscovered by any. And when he was come back, he himself and these two young men headed a procession, arrayed as those are now arrayed who carry the vine-branches. They carry these in honor of Dionysus and Ariadne, and because of their part in the story; or rather, because they came back home at the time of the vintage. And the women called Deipnophoroi, or supper-carriers, take part in the procession and share in the sacrifice, in imitation of the mothers of the young men and maidens on whom the lot fell, for these kept coming with bread and meat for their children. And tales are told at this festival, because these mothers, for the sake of comforting and encouraging their children, spun out tales for them. At any rate, these details are to be found in the history of Demon. Furthermore, a sacred precinct was also set apart for Theseus, and he ordered the members of the families which had furnished the tribute to the Minotaur to make contributions towards a sacrifice to himself. This sacrifice was superintended by the Phytalidae, and Theseus thus repaid them for their hospitality. XXIV. After the death of Aegeus, Theseus conceived a wonderful design, and settled all the residents of Attica in one city, thus making one people of one city out of those who up to that time had been scattered about and were not easily called together for the common interests of all, nay, they sometimes actually quarrelled and fought with each other. He visited them, then, and tried to win them over to his project township by township and clan by clan. The common folk and the poor quickly answered to his summons; to the powerful he promised government without a king and a democracy, in which he should only be commander in war and guardian of the laws, while in all else everyone should be on an equal footing. Some he readily persuaded to this course, and others, fearing his power, which was already great, and his boldness, chose to be persuaded rather than forced to agree to it. Accordingly, after doing away with the townhalls and council-chambers and magistracies in the several communities, and after building a common town-hall and council-chamber for all on the ground where the upper town of the present day stands, he named the city Athens, and instituted a Panathenaic festival. He instituted also the Metoecia, or Festival of Settlement, on the sixteenth day of the month Hecatombaeon, and this is still celebrated. Then, laying aside the royal power, as he had agreed, he proceeded to arrange the government, and that too with the sanction of the gods. For an oracle came to him from Delphi, in answer to his enquiries about the city, as follows: --Theseus, offspring of Aegeus, son of the daughter of Pittheus,Many indeed the cities to which my father has givenBounds and future fates within your citadel's confines.Therefore be not dismayed, but with firm and confident spiritCounsel only; the bladder will traverse the sea and its surges. And this oracle they say the Sibyl afterwards repeated to the city, when she cried: --Bladder may be submerged; but its sinking will not be permitted.XXV. Desiring still further to enlarge the city, he invited all men thither on equal terms, and the phrase "Come hither all ye people,” they say was a proclamation of Theseus when he established a people, as it were, of all sorts and conditions. However, he did not suffer his democracy to become disordered or confused from an indiscriminate multitude streaming into it, but was the first to separate the people into noblemen and husbandmen and handicraftsmen. To the noblemen he committed the care of religious rites, the supply of magistrates, the teaching of the laws, and the interpretation of the will of Heaven, and for the rest of the citizens he established a balance of privilege, the noblemen being thought to excel in dignity, the husbandmen in usefulness, and the handicraftsmen in numbers. And that he was the first to show a leaning towards the multitude, as Aristotle says, and gave up his absolute rule, seems to be the testimony of Homer also, in the Catalogue of Ships, where he speaks of the Athenians alone as a "people.” He also coined money, and stamped it with the effigy of an ox, either in remembrance of the Marathonian bull, or of Taurus, the general of Minos, or because he would invite the citizens to agriculture. From this coinage, they say, “ten oxen” and “a hundred oxen” came to be used as terms of valuation. Having attached the territory of Megara securely to Attica, he set up that famous pillar on the Isthmus, and carved upon it the inscription giving the territorial boundaries. It consisted of two trimeters, of which the one towards the east declared: --“Here is not Peloponnesus, but Ionia;”and the one towards the west: --Here is the Peloponnesus, not Ionia. He also instituted the games here, in emulation of Heracles, being ambitious that as the Hellenes, by that hero's appointment, celebrated Olympian games in honor of Zeus, so by his own appointment they should celebrate Isthmian games in honor of Poseidon. For the games already instituted there in honor of Melicertes were celebrated in the night, and had the form of a religious rite rather than of a spectacle and public assembly. But some say that the Isthmian games were instituted in memory of Sciron, and that Theseus thus made expiation for his murder, because of the relationship between them; for Sciron was a son of Canethus and Henioche, who was the daughter of Pittheus. And others have it that Sinis, not Sciron, was their son, and that it was in his honor rather that the
12 minutes | Dec 16, 2019
LP0114 philE1A14 Pasiphae & Semele
Legendary Passages #0114, Philostratus the Elder, Imagines Book 1, Image 14, Pasiphae & Semele. Previously, Theseus abandoned Ariadne on Naxos, where she was rescued by the god Dionysus. In this passage there are descriptions of three paintings: Semele, mother of Dionysus; Ariadne, wife of Dionysus; and Pasiphae, mother of Ariadne and the Minotaur. The first image is of the fire that consumed Semele and gave birth to Dionysus. Semele was the youngest daughter of Cadmus, and after she became pregnant by Zeus, Hera tricked her into asking Zeus to show his true self. She was burned to death by his godly form, but the fetus of Dionysus survived, and his father placed him inside Zeus' own body to carry him to term. The second image is that of Dionysus watching a sleeping Ariadne as Theseus sails away. Dionysus is usually depicted with ivy, horns, leopards, thyrsi, faun-skins, cymbals, flutes, and satyrs; but here the god is recognized by his love alone. Theseus looks entranced, having apparently forgotten the Minotaur and his love for Ariadne. The last image is primarily of the workshop of Daedalus, who constructed the hollow wooden cow that, uh, facilitated the union of Pasiphae and the Cretan Bull. About the workshop are unfinished statues, and little cupids aid Daedalus in constructing the wooden cow. Pasiphae & Semele, a Legendary Passage from, Arthur Fairbanks translating, Philostratus the Elder, Imagines Book 1, Images 14-16. https://www.theoi.com/Text/PhilostratusElder1A.html#14 1.14 SEMELE Brontè, stern of face, and Astrapè flashing light from her eyes, and raging fire from heaven that has laid hold of a king’s house, suggest the following tale, if it is one you know. A cloud of fire encompassing Thebes breaks into the dwelling of Cadmus as Zeus comes wooing Semele; and Semele apparently is destroyed, but Dionysus is born, by Zeus, so I believe, in the presence of the fire. And the form of Semele is dimly seen as she goes to the heavens, where the Muses will hymn her praises: but Dionysus leaps forth as his mother’s womb is rent apart and he makes the flame look dim, so brilliantly does he shine like a radiant star. The flame, dividing, dimly outlines a cave for Dionysus more charming than any in Assyria and Lydia; for sprays of ivy grow luxuriantly about it and clusters of ivy berries and now grape-vines and stalks of thyrsus which spring up from the willing earth, so that some grow in the very fire. We must not be surprised if in honour of Dionysus the Fire is crowned by the Earth, for the Earth will take part with the Fire in the Bacchic revel and will make it possible for the revelers to take wine from springs and to draw milk from clods of earth or from a rock as from living breasts. Listen to Pan, how he seems to be hymning Dionysus on the crests of Cithaeron, as he dances an Evian fling. And Cithaeron in the form of a man laments the woes soon to occur on his slopes, and he wears an ivy crown aslant on his head – for he accepts the crown most unwillingly – and Megaera causes a fir to shoot up beside him and brings to light a spring of water, in token, I fancy, of the blood of Actaeon and of Pentheus. 1.15 ARIADNE That Theseus treated Ariadne unjustly – though some say not with unjust intent, but under the compulsion of Dionysus – when he abandoned her while asleep on the island of Dia, you must have heard from your nurse; for those women are skilled in telling such tales and they weep over them whenever they will. I do not need to say that it is Theseus you see there on the ship and Dionysus yonder on the land, nor will I assume you to be ignorant and call your attention to the woman on the rocks, lying there in gentle slumber. Nor yet is it enough to praise the painter for things for which someone else too might be praised; for it is easy for anyone to paint Ariadne as beautiful and Theseus as beautiful; and there are countless characteristics of Dionysus for those who wish to represent him in painting or sculpture, by depicting which even approximately the artist has captured the god. For instance, the ivy clusters forming a crown are the clear mark of Dionysus, even if the workmanship is poor; and a horn just springing from the temples reveals Dionysus, and a leopard, though but just visible, is a symbol of the god; but this Dionysus the painter has characterized by love alone. Flowered garments and thyrsi and fawn-skins have been cast aside as out of place for the moment, and the Bacchantes are not clashing their cymbals now, nor are the Satyrs playing the flute, nay, even Pan checks his wild dance that he may not disturb the maiden’s sleep. Having arrayed himself in fine purple and wreathed his head with roses, Dionysus comes to the side of Ariadne, “drunk with love” as the Teian poet says of those who are overmastered by love. As for Theseus, he is indeed in love, but with the smoke rising from Athens, and he no longer knows Ariadne, and never knew her, and I am sure that he has even forgotten the labyrinth and could not tell on what possible errand he sailed to Crete, so singly is his gaze fixed on what lies ahead of his prow. And look at Ariadne, or rather at her sleep; for her bosom is bare to the waist, and her neck is bent back and her delicate throat, and all her right armpit is visible, but the left hand rests on her mantle that a gust of wind may not expose her. How fair a sight, Dionysus, and how sweet her breath! Whether its fragrance is of apples or of grapes, you can tell after you have kissed her! 1.16. PASIPHAË Pasiphaë is in love with the bull and begs Daedalus to devise some lure for the creature; and he is fashioning a hollow cow like a cow of the herd to which the bull is accustomed. What their union brought forth is shown by the form of the Minotaur, strangely composite in its nature. Their union is not depicted here, but this is the workshop of Daedalus; and about it are statues, some with forms blocked out, others in a quite complete state in that they are already stepping forward and give promise of walking about. Before the time of Daedalus, you know, the art of making statues had not yet conceived such a thing. Daedalus himself is of the Attic type in that his face suggests great wisdom and that the look of the eye is so intelligent; and his very dress also follows the Attic style; for he wears this dull coarse mantle and also he is painted without sandals, in a manner peculiarly affected by the Athenians. He sits before the framework of the cow and he uses Cupids [Erotes] as his assistants in the device so as to connect with it something of Aphrodite. Of the Cupids, my boy, those are visible who turn the drill, and those by Zeus that smooth with the adze portions of the cow which are not yet accurately finished, and those that measure off the symmetrical proportions on which craftsmanship depends. But the Cupids that work with the saw surpass all conception and all skill in drawing and colour. For look! The saw has attacked the wood and is already passing through it, and these Cupids keep it going, one on the ground, another on the staging, both straightening up and bending forward in turn. Let us consider this movement to be alternate; one has bent low as if about to rise up, his companion has risen erect as if about to bend over; the one on the ground draws his breath into his chest, and the one who is aloft fills his lungs down to his belly as he presses both hands down on the saw. Pasiphaë outside the workshop in the cattlefold gazes on the bull, thinking to draw him to her by her beauty and by her robe, which is divinely resplendent and more beautiful than any rainbow. She has a helpless look – for she knows what the creature is that she loves – and she is eager to embrace it, but takes no notice of her and gazes at its own cow. The bull is depicting with proud mien, the leader of the herd, with splendid horns, white, already experienced in love, its dewlap low and its neck massive, and it gazes fondly at the cow; but the cow in the herd, ranging free and all white but for a black head, disdains the bull. For its purpose suggests a leap, as of a girl who avoids the importunity of a lover. https://www.theoi.com/Text/PhilostratusElder1B.html#16 This passage continues with Hippodameia, but in our next passage we return to Athens on The Ship of Theseus.
14 minutes | Dec 11, 2019
LP0113 cat64b Ariadne's Curse
Legendary Passages #0113,The Poems of Catullus,Part II of Poem ,Ariadne's Curse. Previously, Catullus described a couch covered with images of Theseus and Ariadne. Here the passage continues with her lamentations, her curse, and her rescue, of sorts. Ariadne had hoped for marriage, would have endured slavery, but being left to die alone was the ultimate betrayal by Theseus. She insulted his parentage, complained to the uncaring wind about the evilness of men, and despaired that even if she escaped off the island, she had no where else to go. Her love spurned, her fate sealed, as her final act she cursed Theseus to die alone. Meanwhile, his mind in a haze, Theseus dimly recalled his father Aegeus' parting words to him. Aegeus believed that Theseus would die as had all the youths before him, thus the tribute ship was given a black sail, the color of grief and death. Should a miracle occur, the Minotaur slain and he survive, Theseus was told to hoist a white sail, to let his father know that he yet lived. The final section has Ariadne rescued by the god Dionysus, here called Bacchus, and his strange entourage of followers and satyrs. It is hinted that Bacchus himself compelled Theseus to leave, and the god of liberation declared his own love for Ariadne. Bacchus throws a massive party for their wedding, she became a goddess, and received her happily ever after.Ariadne's Curse,a Legendary Passage from,A. S. Kline translating,Gaius Valerius Catullus,Part II of Poem .https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Catullus.php#anchor_Toc531846789But what should I relate, digressing furtherfrom my poem’s theme: the girl, abandoningher father’s sight, her sisters’ embraces, and lastlyher mother’s, she wretched at her lost daughter’s joyin preferring the sweet love of Theseus to all this:or her being carried by ship to Naxos’s foaming shore,or her consort with uncaring heart vanishing,she conquered, her eyes softening in sleep?Often loud shrieks cried the frenzy in her ardent heartpoured out from the depths of her breast,and then she would climb the steep cliffs in her grief,where the vast sea-surge stretches out to the view,then run against the waves into the salt tremorholding her soft clothes above her naked calves,and call out mournfully this last complaint,a frozen sob issuing from her wet face:‘False Theseus, is this why you take me from my father’s land,faithless man, to abandon me on a desert shore?Is this how you vanish, heedless of the god’s power,ah, uncaring, bearing home your accursed perjuries?Nothing could alter the measure of your cruel mind?No mercy was near to you, inexorable man,that you might take pity on my heart?Yet once you made promises to me in that flattering voice,you told me to hope, not for this miserybut for joyful marriage, the longed-for wedding songs,all in vain, dispersed on the airy breezes.Now, no woman should believe a man’s pledges,or believe there’s any truth in a man’s words:when their minds are intent on their desire,they have no fear of oaths, don’t spare their promises:but as soon as the lust of their eager mind is slakedthey fear no words, they care nothing for perjury.Surely I rescued you from the midst of the tempestof fate, and more, I gave up my half-brother,whom I abandoned to you with treachery at the end.For that I’m left to be torn apart by beasts, and a preyto sea-birds, unburied, when dead, in the scattered earth.What lioness whelped you under a desert rock,what sea conceived and spat you from foaming waves,what Syrtis, what fierce Scylla, what vast Charybdis,you who return me this, for the gift of your sweet life?If marriage with me was not in your heart,because you feared your old father’s cruel precepts,you could still have led me back to your house,where I would have served you, a slave happy in her task,washing your beautiful feet in clear water,covering your bed with the purple fabric.But why complain to the uncaring wind in vain?It is beyond evil, and without senses, unableto hear what is said, without voice to reply.It is already turning now towards mid-ocean,and nothing human appears in this waste of weed.So cruel chance taunts me in my last moments,even depriving my ears of my own lament.All-powerful Jupiter, if only the Athenian shipshad not touched the shores of Cnossos, from the start,carrying their fatal cargo for the ungovernable bull,a faithless captain mooring his ropes to Crete,an evil guest, hiding a cruel purpose under a handsomeappearance, finding rest in our halls!Now where can I return? What desperate hopedepend on? Shall I seek out the slopes of Ida?But the cruel sea with its divisive depthsof water separates me from them.Or shall I hope for my father’s help? Did I not leave him,to follow a man stained with my brother’s blood?Or should I trust in a husband’s love to console me?Who hardly bends slow oars in running from me?More, I’m alive on a lonely island without shelter,and no escape seen from the encircling ocean waves.No way to fly, no hope: all is mute,all is deserted, all speaks of ruin.Yet still my eyes do not droop in death,not till my senses have left my weary body,till true justice is handed down by the gods,and the divine help I pray for in my last hour.So you Eumenides who punish by avengingthe crimes of men, your foreheads crownedwith snaky hair, bearing anger in your breath,here, here, come to me, listen to my complaints,that I, wretched alas, force, weakened, burning,out of the marrow of my bones, blind with mad rage.Since these truths are born in the depths of my breast,you won’t allow my lament to pass you by,but as Theseus left me alone, through his intent,goddesses, by that will, pursue him and his with murder.’When these words had poured from her sad breast,the troubled girl praying for cruel actions,the chief of the gods nodded with unconquerable will:at which the earth and the cruel sea trembledand the glittering stars shook in the heavens.Now Theseus’s mind was filled with a dark mistand all the instructions he had held fixed in memorybefore this, were erased from his thoughts,failing to raise the sweet signal to his mourning father,when the harbour of Athens safely came in sight.For they say that when Aegeus parted from his son,as the goddess’s ship left the city, he yielded himto the wind’s embrace with these words:‘Son, more dear to me than my long life,son, whom I abandoned through chance uncertainty,lately returned to me in the last days of my old age,since my fate and your fierce virtue tear you awayfrom me, against my will, whose failing eyesare not yet sated with my dear son’s face,I don’t send you off happily with joyful heart,or allow you to carry flags of good fortune,but start with the many sorrows in my mind,marring my white hairs with earth and sprinkled ashes,then hang unfinished canvas from the wandering mast,so the darkened sail of gloomy Spanish flaxmight speak the grief and passion in my mind.But if the one who dwells in sacred Iton, who promisedto defend the people and city of Erectheus, allows youto wet your hand with the blood of the bull,then make sure this command is done, buried in yourremembering heart, not to be erased by time:that as soon as you set eyes on our hills,strip the dark fabric fully from the yards,and hoist white sails with your twisted ropes,so that seeing them from the first, I’ll know joyin my glad heart, when a happy time reveals your return.’These words to Theseus, once held constantly in mind,vanished like clouds of snow struck by a blast of windon the summits of high mountains.But when his father, searching the view from the citadel’s height,endless tears flooding his anxious eyes,first saw the sails of dark fabric,he threw himself head first from the height of the cliff,believing Theseus lost to inexorable fate.So fierce Theseus entered the palace in mourningfor his father’s death, and knew the same grief of mindthat he had caused neglected Ariadne,she who was gazing then where his ship had vanishedpondering the many cares in her wounded heart.But bright Bacchus hurries from elsewherewith his chorus of Satyrs and Silenes from Nysa,seeking you, Ariadne, burning with love for you.In rapture his Bacchantes raved madly, crazed in mind,with cries of ‘euhoe’ and tossing heads,some brandished the thyrsus with hidden tip,some flourished the torn limbs of bullocks,some wreathed themselves with twining snakes,some celebrated the secret rites of the hollow box,rights they wished the profane to hear in vain:others beat the drums with the flat of their hands,or raised a clear ringing from rounded cymbals:they blew endless strident calls on the hornsand the barbarous flute shrilled with fearful tunes.Such the splendid workings of figured tapestrycovering the sacred couch its cloth embraced.https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Catullus.php#anchor_Toc531846789 This passage continues with the wedding of Peleus & Thetis, but in our next episode we hear the stories of Pasiphae & Semele.
11 minutes | Dec 5, 2019
LP0112 cat64a Of the Argonauts & Ariadne
Legendary Passages #0112, The Poems of Catullus, Part I of Poem , Of the Argonauts & Ariadne. Previously, Princess Ariadne was abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos. In this passage we revisit how she came to be stranded there. Now the structure of this poem is quite odd. It begins with the voyage of the Argonauts, where Prince Peleus fell in love the mermaid goddess Thetis, and Jupiter, King of the Gods, approved of the marriage. The people of Pelion Thessaly abandoned farm and field and gathered at the palace for the wedding of the hero and goddess. It is here that Catullus describes a magnificent purple and ivory couch, decorated with images of an unkempt Ariadne, standing half-dressed on shores edge, watching Theseus row off without her. Then as an aside, a summary of how they came to meet. Her brother Androgeus slain, Athens plagued by the gods, and the young boys and girls due to Minos as tribute, for which Theseus volunteered. It was love at first sight for Ariadne; she gave him the thread to escape from the Labyrinth, so that they could live together, happily ever after. But fate had other plans for them.... Of the Argonauts & Ariadne. a Legendary Passage from, A. S. Kline translating, Gaius Valerius Catullus, Part I of Poem . https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Catullus.php#anchor_Toc531846789 64. Of the Argonauts and an Epithalamium for Peleus and Thetis Once they say pine-trees born on the heights of Pelion floated through Neptune’s clear waves, to the River Phasis and Aeetes’s borders, with chosen men, oaks of the Argive people, hoping to steal the Golden Fleece of Colchis daring to course the salt deeps in their swift ship, sweeping the blue waters with fir-wood oars. The goddess herself who guards the heights of the city, who joined the curving fabric to pinewood keel, made their ship speed onwards with light winds. That vessel was first to explore the unknown sea: so, as she ploughed the windblown waters with her prow, and whitened the churning waves with foam from the oars, the Nereids lifted themselves from the dazzling white depths of the sea, amazed at this wonder of ocean. In those, and other days, mortal eyes saw the sea-nymphs raise themselves, bodies all naked, as far as their nipples, from the white depths. Then Peleus, they say, was inflamed with love of Thetis, then Thetis did not despise marriage with a mortal, then Jupiter himself agreed to Thetis’s marriage. O heroes, born in a chosen age, hail, godlike race! O offspring of a blessed mother, hail once more. Often I’ll address you, in my song. And I address you, so blessed in your fortunate marriage, chief of Pelian Thessaly, to whom Jupiter himself creator of gods, yielded his beloved: did not Thetis possess you, loveliest of Nereids? Did not Tethys allow you to lead off her grand-daughter, and Oceanus, who embraces the whole world with sea? When at the time appointed the longed-for flames arise, all of Thessaly crowds together to the palace, the halls are filled with a joyful assembly: they bring gifts with them, declaring their joy in their looks. Cieros is deserted: they leave Pthiotic Tempe, Crannon’s houses, and Larissa’s walls, they gather in Pharsalia, crowd under Pharsalia’s roofs. No one farms the fields, the necks of bullocks soften, nor does the curved hoe clear beneath the vines, nor does the ox drag earth outward with the blade, nor does the sickle thin the shade of leafy trees, coarse rust attacks the neglected plough. But the palace gleams bright with gold and silver through all the rich receding halls. The ivory chairs shine, cups glisten on tables, the whole palace gladdened with splendour of royal wealth. In the midst of the palace a sacred couch, truly joyful for the marriage of the goddess, gleaming with Indian ivory, stained with the red dyes won from purple murex. The cloth depicts in ancient forms, with marvellous art, in all their variety, the excellence of gods and men. Here are seen the wave-echoing shores of Naxos, Theseus, aboard his ship, vanishing swiftly, watched by Ariadne, ungovernable passion in her heart, not yet believing that she sees what she does see, still only just awoken from deceptive sleep, finding herself abandoned wretchedly to empty sands. But uncaring the hero fleeing strikes the deep with his oars, casting his vain promises to the stormy winds. The Minoan girl goes on gazing at the distance, with mournful eyes, like the statue of a Bacchante, gazes, alas, and swells with great waves of sorrow, no longer does the fine turban remain on her golden hair, no longer is she hidden by her lightly-concealing dress, no longer does the shapely band hold her milk-white breasts all of it scattered, slipping entirely from her body, plays about her feet in the salt flood. But, not caring now for turban or flowing dress, the lost girl gazed towards you, Theseus, with all her heart, spirit, mind. Wretched thing, for whom bright Venus reserved the thorny cares of constant mourning in your heart, from that time when it suited warlike Theseus, leaving the curving shores of Piraeus, to reach the Cretan regions of the unbending king. For then forced by cruel plague, they say, as punishment, to absolve the murder of Androgeos ten chosen young men of Athens and ten unmarried girls used to be given together as sacrifice to the Minotaur. With which evil the narrow walls were troubled until Theseus chose to offer himself for his dear Athens rather than such Athenian dead be carried un-dead to Crete. And so in a swift ship and with gentle breezes he came to great Minos and his proud halls. As soon as the royal girl cast her eye on him with desire, she whom the chaste bed nourished, breathing sweet perfumes in her mother’s gentle embrace, even as Eurotas’s streams surround a myrtle that sheds its varied colours on the spring breeze, she did not turn her blazing eyes away from him, till she conceived a flame through her whole body that burned utterly to the depths of her bones. Ah sadly the Boy incites inexorable passion in chaste hearts, he who mixes joy and pains for mortals, and she who rules Golgos and leafy Idalia, even she, who shakes the mind of a smitten girl, often sighing for a blonde-haired stranger! How many fears the girl suffers in her weak heart! How often she grows pallid: more so than pale gold. As Theseus went off eager to fight the savage monster either death approached or fame’s reward! Promising small gifts, not unwelcome or in vain, she made her prayers to the gods with closed lips. Now as a storm uproots a quivering branch of oak, or a cone-bearing pine with resinous bark, on the heights of Mount Taurus, twisting its unconquered strength in the wind (it falls headlong, far off, plucked out by the roots, shattering anything and everything in its way) so Theseus upended the conquered body of the beast its useless horns overthrown, emptied of breath. Then he turned back, unharmed, to great glory, guided by the wandering track of fine thread, so that his exit from the fickle labyrinth of the palace would not be prevented by some unnoticed error. https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/Catullus.php#anchor_Toc531846789 This passage continues next episode with the homecoming of Theseus, and Ariadne's Curse.
15 minutes | Oct 31, 2019
LP0111 ovHero10 Ariadne's Letter
Legendary Passages #0111,Ovid's Heroides,Epistle [X.],Ariadne's Letter. Previously, with Ariadne's help Prince Theseus defeated the Minotaur and escaped the Labyrinth. In this passage Ariadne awakens alone on the Island of Naxos, Theseus having abandoned her and sailed away in the night.Ariadne's Letter,a Legendary Passage from,Grant Showerman translating,Publius Ovidius Naso,Heroides Epistle [X.],Ariadne to Theseus.https://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidHeroides2.html#10X. ARIADNE TO THESEUS Gentler than you I have found every race of wild beasts; to none of them could I so ill have trusted as to you. The words you now are reading, Thesues, I send you from that shore from which the sails bore off your ship without me, the shore on which my slumber, and you, so wretchedly betrayed me – you, who wickedly plotted against me as I slept. ‘Twas the time when the earth is first besprinkled with crystal rime, and songsters hid in the branch begin their plaint. Half waking only, languid from sleep, I turned upon my side and put forth hands to clasp my Theseus – he was not there! I drew back my hands, a second time I made essay, and o’er the whole couch moved my arms – he was not there! Fear struck away my sleep; in terror I arose, and threw myself headlong from my abandoned bed. Straight then my palms resounded upon my breasts, and I tore my hair, all disarrayed as it was from sleep. The moon was shining; I bend my gaze to see if aught but shore lies there. So far as my eyes can see, naught to they find but shore. Now this way, and now that, and ever without plan, I course; the deep sand stays my girlish feet. And all the while I cried out “Theseus!” alone the entire shore, and the hollow rocks sent back your name to me; as often as I called out for you, so often did the place itself call out your name. The very place felt the will to aid me in my woe. There was a mountain, with bushes rising here and there upon its top; a cliff hangs over from it, gnawed into by deep-sounding waves. I climb its slope – my spirit gave me strength – and thus with prospect broad I scan the billowy deep. From there – for I found the winds cruel, too – I beheld your sails stretched full by the headlong southern gale. As I looked on a sight methought I had not deserved to see, I grew colder than ice, and life half left my body. Nor does anguish allow me long to lie thus quiet; it rouses me, it stirs me up to call on Theseus with all my voice’s might. “Whither doest fly?” I cry aloud. “Come back, O wicked Theseus! Turn about thy ship! She hath not all her crew!” Thus did I cry, and what my voice could not avail, I filled with beating of my breast; the blows I gave myself were mingled with my words. That you at least might see, if you could not hear, with might and main I sent you signals with my hands; and upon a long tree-branch I fixed my shining veil – yes, to put in mind of me those who had forgotten! And now you had been swept beyond my vision. Then at last I let flow my tears; till then my tender eyeballs had been dulled with pain. What better could my eyes do than weep for me, when I had ceased to see your sails? Alone, with hair loose flying, I have either roamed about, like to a Bacchant roused by the Ogygian god, or, looking out upon the sea, I have sat all chilled upon the rock, as much a stone myself as was the stone I sat upon. Oft do I come again to the couch that once received us both, but was fated never to show us together again, and touch the imprint left by you – ‘tis all I can in place of you! – and the stuffs that once grew warm beneath your limbs. I lay me down upon my face, bedew the bed with pouring tears, and cry aloud: “We were two who pressed thee – give back two! We came to thee both together; why do we not depart the same? Ah, faithless bed – the greater part of my being, oh, where is he? What am I to do? Whither shall I take myself – I am alone, and the isle untilled. Of human traces I see none; of cattle, none. On every side the land is girt by sea; nowhere a sailor, no craft to make its way over the dubious paths. And suppose I did find those to go with me, and winds, and ship – yet where am I to go? My father’s realm forbids me to approach. Grant I do glide with fortunate keel over peaceful seas, that Aeolus tempers the winds – I still shall be an exile! ‘Tis not for me, O Crete composed of the hundred cities, to look upon thee, land known to the infant Jove! No, for my father and the land ruled by my righteous father – dear names! – were betrayed by my deed when, to keep you, after your victory, from death in the winding halls, I gave into your hand the thread to direct your steps in place of guide – when you said to me: “By these very perils of mine, I swear that, so long as both of us shall live, thou shalt be mine!” We both live, Theseus, and I am not yours! – if indeed a woman lives who is buried by the treason of a perjured mate. Me, too, you should have slain, O false one, with the same bludgeon that slew my brother; then would the oath you gave me have been absolved by my death. Now, I ponder over not only what I am doomed to suffer, but all that any woman left behind can suffer. There rush into my thought a thousand forms of perishing, and death holds less of dole for me than the delay of death. Each moment, now here, now there, I look to see wolves rush on me, to rend my vitals with their greedy fangs. Who knows but that this shore breeds, too, the tawny lion? Perchance the island harbours the savage tiger as well. They say, too, that the waters of the deep cast up the mighty seal! And who is to keep the swords of men from piercing my side? But I care not, if I am but not left captive in hard bonds, and not compelled to spin the long task with servile hand – I, whose father is Minos, whose mother the child of Phoebus, and who – what memory holds more close – was promised bride to you! When I have looked on the sea, and on the land, and on the wide-stretching shore, I know many dangers threaten me on land, and many on the waters. The sky remains – yet there I fear visions of the gods! I am left helpless, a prey to the maws of ravening beasts; and if men dwell in the place and keep it, I put no trust in them – my hurts have taught me fear of stranger-men. O, that Androgeos were still alive, and that thou, O Cecropian land, hadst not been made to atone for thy impious deeds with the doom of thy children! and would that thy upraised right hand, O Theseus, had not slain with knotty club him that was man in part, and in part bull; and I had not given thee the thread to show the way of thy return – thread oft caught up again and passed through the hands led on by it. I marvel not – ah, no! – if victory was thine, and the monster smote with his length the Cretan earth. His horn could not have pierced that iron heart of thine; thy breast was safe, even didst thou naught to shield thyself. There barest thou flint, there barest thou adamant; there hast thou a Theseus harder than any flint! Ah, cruel slumbers, why did you hold me thus inert? Or, better had I been weighed down once for all by everlasting night. You, too, were cruel, O winds, and all too well prepared, and you breezes, eager to start my tears. Cruel the right hand that has brought me and my brother to our death, and cruel the pledge – an empty word – that you gave at my demand! Against me conspiring were slumber, wind, and treacherous pledge – treason three-fold against one maid! Am I, then, to die, and, dying, not behold my mother’s tears; and shall there be no one’s finger to close my eyes? Is my unhappy soul to go forth into stranger-air, and no friendly hand compose my limbs and drop them on the unguent due? Are my bones to lie unburied, the prey of hovering birds of the shore? Is this the entombment due to me for my kindnesses? You will go to the haven of Cecrops; but when you have been received back home, and have stood in pride before your thronging followers, gloriously telling the death of the man-and-bull, and of the halls of rock cut out in winding ways, tell, too, of me, abandoned on a solitary shore – for I must not be stolen from the record of your honours! Neither is Aegeus your father, nor are you the son of Pittheus’ daughter Aethra; they who begot you were the rocks and the deep! Ah, I could pray the gods that you had seen me from the high stern; my sad figure had moved your heart! Yet look upon me now – not with eyes, for with them you cannot, but with your mind – clinging to a rock all beaten by the wandering wave. Look upon my locks, let loose like those of one in grief for the dead, and on my robes, heavy with tears as if with rain. My body is a-quiver like standing corn struck by the northern blast, and the letters I am tracing falter beneath my trembling hand. ‘Tis not for my desert – for that has come to naught – that I entreat you now; let no favour be due for my service. Yet neither let me suffer for it! If I am not the cause of your deliverance, yet neither is it right that you should cause my death. These hands, wearied with beating of my sorrowful breast, unhappy I stretch toward you over the long seas; these locks – such as remain – in grief I bid you look upon! By these tears I pray you – tears moved by what you have done – turn about your ship, reverse your sail, glide swiftly back to me! If I have died before you come, ‘twill yet be you who bear away my bones!https://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidHeroides2.html#10 This passage continues with a letter from Canace to Macareus, but in our next episode we hear more of the Argonauts and Ariadne.
15 minutes | Sep 30, 2019
LP0110 plLoT17 The Black Sail
Legendary Passages #0110,Plutarch's Life of Theseus,Section [XVII.],The Black Sail. Previously, the time had come for the third tribute of Athenian youths to be sent to Crete, with no hope of return. In this passage are many different versions of their adventures, not one ending happily ever after. First of all, Theseus promised his father that if they returned safe and sound, he would replace the ship's black sail with a white one. After prayers and sacrifices to Aphrodite by the sea shore, they set sail for Crete. Theseus competed in games against Minos' general named Taurus, and then it was love at first sight for Princess Ariadne. She gave Theseus the thread to find his way out of the Labyrinth, and after crippling the Cretan fleet they escaped on the tribute ship. After the ship made landfall on the island of Naxos, it departed again without Princess Ariadne. Some say she she married the god Dionysus; others that Theseus left her for another woman and she died of grief. The worst story was that she went ashore while sick and the tides pushed the ship out to sea, but by the time Theseus returned to her side, she had died in childbirth. Nevertheless, when they sailed back home to Athens, Theseus had forgotten to take down the black sail. So then King Aegeus, thinking his son and heir dead at the hands of the Minotaur, leapt off the cliff into the sea that bears his name.The Black Saila Legendary Passage from,Bernadotte Perrin translating,Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus,Life of Theseus,Sections [XVII.] - [XXII.]https://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html On the two former occasions, then, no hope of safety was entertained, and therefore they sent the ship with a black sail, convinced that their youth were going to certain destruction; but now Theseus encouraged his father and loudly boasted that he would master the Minotaur, so that he gave the pilot another sail, a white one, ordering him, if he returned with Theseus safe, to hoist the white sail, but otherwise to sail with the black one, and so indicate the affliction. Simonides, however, says that the sail given by Aegeus was not white, but “a scarlet sail dyed with the tender flower of luxuriant holm-oak,” and that he made this a token of their safety. Moreover, the pilot of the ship was Phereclus, son of Amarsyas, as Simonides says; but Philochorus says that Theseus got from Scirus of Salamis Nausithous for his pilot, and Phaeax for his look-out man, the Athenians at that time not yet being addicted to the sea, and that Scirus did him this favour because one of the chosen youths, Menesthes, was his daughter's son. And there is evidence for this in the memorial chapels for Nausithous and Phaeax which Theseus built at Phalerum near the temple of Scirus, and they say that the festival of the Cybernesia, or Pilot's Festival, is celebrated in their honor.XVIII. When the lot was cast, Theseus took those upon whom it fell from the prytaneium and went to the Delphinium, where he dedicated to Apollo in their behalf his suppliant's badge. This was a bough from the sacred olive-tree, wreathed with white wool. Having made his vows and prayers, he went down to the sea on the sixth day of the month Munychion, on which day even now the Athenians still send their maidens to the Delphinium to propitiate the god. And it is reported that the god at Delphi commanded him in an oracle to make Aphrodite his guide, and invite her to attend him on his journey, and that as he sacrificed the usual she-goat to her by the sea-shore, it became a he-goat (tragos) all at once, for which reason the goddess has the surname Epitragia.XIX. When he reached Crete on his voyage, most historians and poets tell us that he got from Ariadne, who had fallen in love with him, the famous thread, and that having been instructed by her how to make his way through the intricacies of the Labyrinth, he slew the Minotaur and sailed off with Ariadne and the youths. And Pherecydes says that Theseus also staved in the bottoms of the Cretan ships, thus depriving them of the power to pursue. And Demon says also that Taurus, the general of Minos, was killed in a naval battle in the harbor as Theseus was sailing out. But as Philochorus tells the story, Minos was holding the funeral games, and Taurus was expected to conquer all his competitors in them, as he had done before, and was grudged his success. For his disposition made his power hateful, and he was accused of too great intimacy with Pasiphae. Therefore when Theseus asked the privilege of entering the lists, it was granted him by Minos. And since it was the custom in Crete for women to view the games, Ariadne was present, and was smitten with the appearance of Theseus, as well as filled with admiration for his athletic prowess, when he conquered all his opponents. Minos also was delighted with him, especially because he conquered Taurus in wrestling and disgraced him, and therefore gave back the youths to Theseus, besides remitting its tribute to the city. Cleidemus, however, gives a rather peculiar and ambitious account of these matters, beginning a great way back. There was, he says, a general Hellenic decree that no trireme should sail from any port with a larger crew than five men, and the only exception was Jason, the commander of the Argo, who sailed about scouring the sea of pirates. Now when Daedalus fled from Crete in a merchant-vessel to Athens, Minos, contrary to the decrees, pursued him with his ships of war, and was driven from his course by a tempest to Sicily, where he ended his life. And when Deucalion, his son, who was on hostile terms with the Athenians, sent to them a demand that they deliver up Daedalus to him, and threatened, if they refused, to put to death the youth whom Minos had received from them as hostages, Theseus made him a gentle reply, declining to surrender Daedalus, who was his kinsman and cousin, being the son of Merope, the daughter of Erechtheus. But privately he set himself to building a fleet, part of it at home in the township of Thymoetadae, far from the public road, and part of it under the direction of Pittheus in Troezen, wishing his purpose to remain concealed. When his ships were ready, he set sail, taking Daedalus and exiles from Crete as his guides, and since none of the Cretans knew of his design, but thought the approaching ships to be friendly, Theseus made himself master of the harbor, disembarked his men, and got to Gnossus before his enemies were aware of his approach. Then joining battle with them at the gate of the Labyrinth, he slew Deucalion and his body-guard. And since Ariadne was now at the head of affairs, he made a truce with her, received back the youthful hostages, and established friendship between the Athenians and the Cretans, who took oath never to begin hostilities.XX. There are many other stories about these matters, and also about Ariadne, but they do not agree at all. Some say that she hung herself because she was abandoned by Theseus; others that she was conveyed to Naxos by sailors and there lived with Oenarus the priest of Dionysus, and that she was abandoned by Theseus because he loved another woman: -- Dreadful indeed was his passion for Aigle child of Panopeus.” This verse Peisistratus expunged from the poems of Hesiod, according to Hereas the Megarian, just as, on the other hand, he inserted into the Inferno of Homer the verse: -- Theseus, Peirithous, illustrious children of Heaven,and all to gratify the Athenians. Moreover, some say that Ariadne actually had sons by Theseus, Oenopion and Staphylus, and among these is Ion of Chios, who says of his own native city: -- This, once, Theseus's son founded, Oenopion. Now the most auspicious of these legendary tales are in the mouths of all men, as I may say; but a very peculiar account of these matters is published by Paeon the Amathusian. He says that Theseus, driven out of his course by a storm to Cyprus, and having with him Ariadne, who was big with child and in sore sickness and distress from the tossing of the sea, set her on shore alone, but that he himself, while trying to succour the ship, was borne out to sea again. The women of the island, accordingly, took Ariadne into their care, and tried to comfort her in the discouragement caused by her loneliness, brought her forged letters purporting to have been written to her by Theseus, ministered to her aid during the pangs of travail, and gave her burial when she died before her child was born. Paeon says further that Theseus came back, and was greatly afflicted, and left a sum of money with the people of the island, enjoining them to sacrifice to Ariadne, and caused two little statuettes to be set up in her honor, one of silver, and one of bronze. He says also that at the sacrifice in her honor on the second day of the month Gorpiaeus, one of their young men lies down and imitates the cries and gestures of women in travail; and that they call the grove in which they show her tomb, the grove of Ariadne Aphrodite. Some of the Naxians also have a story of their own, that there were two Minoses and two Ariadnes, one of whom, they say, was married to Dionysus in Naxos and bore him Staphylus and his brother, and the other, of a later time, having been carried off by Theseus and then abandoned by him, came to Naxos, accompanied by a nurse named Corcyne, whose tomb they show; and that this Ariadne also died there, and has honors paid her unlike those of the former, for the festival of the first Ariadne is celebrated with mirth and revels, but the sacrifices performed in honor of the second are attended with sorrow and mourning.XXI. On his voyage from Crete, Theseus put in at Delos, and having sacrificed to the god and dedicated in his temple the image of Aphrodite which he had received from Ariadne, he danced with his youths a dance which they say is still performed by the Delians, being an imitation of the circling passages in the Labyrinth, and consisting of certain rhythmic involutions and evolutions. This kind of dance, as Dicaearchus tells us, is called by the Delians The Crane, and Theseus danced it round the altar called Keraton, which is constructed of horns (kerata) taken entirely from the left side of the
15 minutes | Aug 2, 2019
LP0109 Bacchy17 The Athenian Youths
Legendary Passages #0109,Bacchylides' Odes,[XVII.],The Athenian Youths. Previously, Theseus had many adventures on his way to Athens before volunteering to be sent to the Minotaur's Labyrinth. This passage recounts some of those adventures as well as a few others. Ode 17 begins with the voyage of the seven boys and seven girls to Crete. King Minos throws a ring overboard and challenges the young prince to retrieve it from the sea-god's domain. Ode 18 is all dialogue between the Greek chorus and Theseus' father Aegeus. Word has come of Theseus and his adventures, and Aegeus fears what will happen when he comes to Athens. Ode 19 is about Io, a lover of Zeus transformed into a cow. The messenger god Hermes rescues her from a thousand-eyed monster named Argus. Lastly, Ode 20 is a fragment about Idas and Marpessa, but most of that story has been lost.https://www.scribd.com/document/49175815/Bacchylides-Ode-17-Dithyramb-3The Athenian Youths,a Legendary Passage from,Sir Richard C. Jebb translating,Bacchylides' Odes,[XVII.] - [XX.]Ode [XVII.]Theseus, Or the Athenian Youths and Maidens. A dark-prowed ship was cleaving the Cretan sea, bearing Theseus, steadfast in the battle din, with seven goodly youths and seven maidens of Athens; for northern breezes fell on the far-gleaming sail, by grace of glorious Athena with warlike Aegis. And the heart of Minos was stung by the baneful gifts of the Cyprian goddess with lovely diadem; he could no longer restrain his hand from a maiden, but touched her fair cheeks. Then Eriboca cried aloud to Pandion's grandson with breastplate of bronze; Theseus saw, and wildly rolled his dark eyes beneath his brows, and cruel pain pricked his heart as he spake: 'O son of peerless Zeus, the spirit in they breast no longer obeys righteous control; withhold, hero, thy presumptuous force. 'Whatever the restless doom given by the gods has decreed for us, and the scale of Justice inclines to ordain, that appointed fate we will fulfill when it comes. But do thou forgear thy grievous purpose. If the noble daughter of Phoenix, the maiden of gracious fame, taken to the bed of Zeus beneath the brow of Ida, bare thee, peerless among men; yet I, too, was borne by the daughter of wealthy Pittheus, in wedlock with the sea-god Poseidon, and the violet-crowned Nereids gave her a golden veil. 'Therefore, O war-lord of Cnosus, I bid thee restrain thy wantonness, fraught with woe; for I should not care to look on the fair light of divine Eos, after thou hadst done violence to one of this youthful company: before that, we will come to a trial of strength, and Destiny shall decide the sequel.' Thus far the hero valiant with the spear: but the seafarers were amazed at the youth's lofty boldness; and he whose bride was daughter of the Sun-god felt anger at his heart; he wove a new device in his mind, and said: 'O Zeus, my sire of great might, hear me! If the white-armed daughter of Phoenix indeed bare me to thee, now send forth from heaven a swift flash of streaming fire, a sign for all to know. And thou, if Troezenian Aethra was thy mother by earth-shaking Poseidon, cast thyself boldly down to the abode of thy sire, and bring from the deep this ring of gold that glitters on my hand. But thou shalt see whether my prayer is heard by the son of Cronus, the all-ruling lord of thunder.' Mighty Zeus heard the unmeasured prayer, and ordained a surpassing honour for Minos, willing to make it seen of all men, for the sake of his well-loved son. He sent the lightning. But the steadfast warrior, when he saw that welcome portent, stretched his hands towards the glorious ether, and said: 'Theseus, there thou beholdest the clear sign given by Zeus. And now do thou spring into the deep-sounding sea; and the son of Cronus, king Poseidon, thy sire, will assure thee supreme renown throughout the well-wooded earth.' So spake he: and the spirit of Theseus recoiled not; he took his place on the well-built stern, and sprang thence, and the domain of the deep received him in kindness. The son of Zeus felt a secret awe in his heart, and gave command to keep the cunningly-wrought ship before the wind; but Fate was preparing a different issue. So the bark sped fast on its journey, and the northern breeze, blowing astern, urged it forward. But all the Athenian youths and maidens shuddered when the hero sprang into the deep; and tears fell from their bright young eyes, in prospect of their grievous doom. Meanwhile dolphins, dwellers in the sea, were swiftly bearing mighty Theseus to the abode of his sire, lord of steeds; and he came unto the hall of the gods. There beheld he the glorious daughters of blest Nereus, and was awe-struck; for a splendour as of fire shone from their radiant forms; fillets inwoven with gold encircled their hair; and they were delighting their hearts by dancing with lissom feet. And in that beautiful abode he saw his father's well-loved wife, the stately, ox-eyed Amphitrite; who clad him in gleaming purple, and set on his thick hair a choice wreath, dark with roses, given to her of yore at her marriage by wily Aphrodite. Nothing that the gods may ordain is past belief to men of a sound mind. Theseus appeared by the ship with slender stern. Ah, in what thoughts did he check the war-lord of Cnosus, when he came unwetted from the sea, a wonder to all, his form resplendent with the gifts of the gods! The bright-throned Nereids cried aloud with new-born gladness; the deep resounded; while the youths and maidens hard by raised a paean with their lovely voices. God of Delos, may the choruses of the Ceans be pleasing to thy soul; and mayest thou give us blessings for our portion, wafted by thy power divine!Ode [XVIII.]Theseus.Chorus. King of sacred Athens, lord of the delicately living lonians, why has the trumpet lately sounded a war-note from its bell of bronze? Is the leader of a hostile army besetting the borders of our land? Or are robbers, devisers of evil, driving off our flocks of sheep perforce, in despite of the shepherds? Or what is the care that gnaws thy heart? Speak; for thou, methinks, if any mortal, hast the aid of valiant youth at hand, O son of Pandion and Creusa.Aegeus. A herald has lately come, whose feet have traversed the long road from the Isthmus; and he tells of prodigious deeds by a man of might. That man has slain the tremendous Sinis, who was foremost of mortals in strength, offspring of the Earth-shaker, the Lytaean son of Cronus. He has laid low the man-killing sow in Cremmyon's woods, and the wicked Sciron. He has closed the wrestling-school of Cercyon. The mighty hammer of Polypemon has dropped from the hand of the Maimer, who has met with a stronger than himself. I fear how these things are to end.Ch. And who and whence is this man said to be, and how equipped? Is he leading a great host in warlike array? Or travelling with his servants only, like a wayfarer who wanders forth to a strange folk, — this man so vigorous, so valiant, and so bold, who has quelled the stubborn strength of such foes? Verily a god is speeding him, so that he shall bring a rightful doom on the unrighteous; for it is not easy to achieve deed after deed without chancing upon evil. In the long course of time all things find their end.Aeg. Only two men attend him, says the herald. He has a sword, with ivory hilt, slung from his bright shoulders: he carries in his hands a couple of polished javelins; a well-wrought Laconian bonnet covers his ruddy locks; around his breast he wears a purple tunic and a thick Thessalian mantle. A fiery light, as of the Lemnian flame, flashes from his eyes: a youth he is in earliest manhood, intent on the pastimes of Ares, - on warfare and the clangour of battle; and he seeks brilliant Athens.Ode [XIX.]Io. (For the Athenians.) A thousand paths of poesy divine are open to him who has received gifts from the Muses of Pieria, and whose songs have been clothed with worship by the dark-eyed Graces who bring the wreath. Weave, then, some glorious lay in Athens, the lovely and the blest, thou Cean fantasy of fair renown. A choice strain should be thine, since Calliope has given thee a meed of signal honour. There was a time when, by the counsels of wide-ruling Zeus most high, the heifer precious in his sight, — the rosy-fingered maid born to Inachus, — was flying from Argos nurse of steeds: when Argus, looking every way with tireless eyes, had been charged by the great queen, Hera of golden robe, to keep unresting, sleepless ward o'er that creature with the goodly horns. Nor could Maia's son elude him in the sun-lit days or in the holy nights. Did it befall then that the swift messenger of Zeus slew huge Argus, Earth's fierce offspring, [in combat]? Or did the watcher's unending cares [close his dread eyes;] or was he lulled to rest from weary troubles by the sweet melody of the Pierian sisters? For me, at least, the surest path of song [is that which leads me to the end]; when lo, driven by the gadfly, reached the flowery banks of Nile, bearing in her womb Epaphus, child of Zeus. There she brought him forth, to be glorious lord of the linen-robed folk, a prince flourishing in transcendent honour; and there she founded the mightiest race among men. From that race sprang Cadmus, son of Agenor, who in Thebes of the seven gates became father of Semele. And her son was Dionysus, inspirer of Bacchants, [king of joyous revels] and of choruses that wear the wreath...Ode [XX.]Idas. (For the Lacedaemonians.) In spacious Sparta of yore the golden-haired maidens of Lacedaemon chanted such a song as this, when bold-hearted Idas was bringing home the fair maiden, Marpessa of the violet locks, after escaping the swift doom of death; when Poseidon, lord of the sea, had given him a chariot, with steeds swift as the wind, and had sped him on his way to well-built Pleuron, to the son of Ares with golden shield...https://archive.org/stream/bacchylidespoems00bacciala/bacchylidespoems00bacciala_djvu.txt This passage concludes here. But in our next episode, Theseus journeys to Crete under The Black Sail.
14 minutes | Jul 1, 2019
LP0108 pDoG1-26-4 Marathonian Bull
Legendary Passages #0108,Pausanias' Description of Greece,Book [1.26.4],Marathonian Bull. Previously, Theseus found his father's sword and sandals, killed the Marathonian Bull, and volunteered for the Tribute of Minos. In this passage we hear more of those stories, as well as exploring the Acropolis of Athens. After the Erectheum and the image of Athena is a golden lamp that burns for an entire year without being refilled. After the Temple of Athena, Pausanias describes the strange ritual of the Bearers of the Sacred Offerings. Next are statues of Tolmides, a burned Athena, and Cycnus fighting Heracles. Many legends of Theseus are chronicled here. When Heracles was visiting Troezen and set aside his lion skin, a seven-year-old Theseus attacked it with an axe. When he was sixteen, he rolled away the rock and found his father's tokens. After Heracles had conquered the Cretan Bull, it was set loose on the mainland, killing the son of Minos before being sacrificed by Theseus. Minos went to war with Athens, and ultimately demanded seven girls and seven boys to be taken to the Minotaur in the Labyrinth at Knossos.Marathonian Bull,a Legendary Passage from,W. H. S. Jones translating,Pausanias,Description of Greece,Book [1.26.4] - [1.27.10].https://www.theoi.com/Text/Pausanias1B.html#3 Endoeus was an Athenian by birth and a pupil of Daedalus, who also, when Daedalus was in exile because of the death of Talos, followed him to Crete. Made by him is a statue of Athena seated, with an inscription that Callias dedicated the image, but Endoeus made it. There is also a building called the Erechtheum. Before the entrance is an altar of Zeus the Most High, on which they never sacrifice a living creature but offer cakes, not being wont to use any wine either. Inside the entrance are altars, one to Poseidon, on which in obedience to an oracle they sacrifice also to Erechtheus, the second to the hero Butes, and the third to Hephaestus. On the walls are paintings representing members of the clan Butadae; there is also inside – the building is double – sea-water in a cistern. This is no great marvel, for other inland regions have similar wells, in particular Aphrodisias in Caria. But this cistern is remarkable for the noise of waves it sends forth when a south wind blows. On the rock is the outline of a trident. Legend says that these appeared as evidence in support of Poseidon's claim to the land. Both the city and the whole of the land are alike sacred to Athena; for even those who in their parishes have an established worship of other gods nevertheless hold Athena in honor. But the most holy symbol, that was so considered by all many years before the unification of the parishes, is the image of Athena which is on what is now called the Acropolis, but in early days the Polis (City). A legend concerning it says that it fell from heaven; whether this is true or not I shall not discuss. A golden lamp for the goddess was made by Callimachus. Having filled the lamp with oil, they wait until the same day next year, and the oil is sufficient for the lamp during the interval, although it is alight both day and night. The wick in it is of Carpasian flax, the only kind of flax which is fire-proof, and a bronze palm above the lamp reaches to the roof and draws off the smoke. The Callimachus who made the lamp, although not of the first rank of artists, was yet of unparalleled cleverness, so that he was the first to drill holes through stones, and gave himself the title of Refiner of Art, or perhaps others gave the title and he adopted it as his. XXVII. In the temple of Athena Polias (Of the City) is a wooden Hermes, said to have been dedicated by Cecrops, but not visible because of myrtle boughs. The votive offerings worth noting are, of the old ones, a folding chair made by Daedalus, Persian spoils, namely the breastplate of Masistius, who commanded the cavalry at Plataea, and a scimitar said to have belonged to Mardonius. Now Masistius I know was killed by the Athenian cavalry. But Mardonius was opposed by the Lacedaemonians and was killed by a Spartan; so the Athenians could not have taken the scimitar to begin with, and furthermore the Lacedaemonians would scarcely have suffered them to carry it off. About the olive they have nothing to say except that it was testimony the goddess produced when she contended for their land. Legend also says that when the Persians fired Athens the olive was burnt down, but on the very day it was burnt it grew again to the height of two cubits. Adjoining the temple of Athena is the temple of Pandrosus, the only one of the sisters to be faithful to the trust. I was much amazed at something which is not generally known, and so I will describe the circumstances. Two maidens dwell not far from the temple of Athena Polias, called by the Athenians Bearers of the Sacred Offerings. For a time they live with the goddess, but when the festival comes round they perform at night the following rites. Having placed on their heads what the priestess of Athena gives them to carry – neither she who gives nor they who carry have any knowledge what it is – the maidens descend by the natural underground passage that goes across the adjacent precincts, within the city, of Aphrodite in the Gardens. They leave down below what they carry and receive something else which they bring back covered up. These maidens they henceforth let go free, and take up to the Acropolis others in their place. By the temple of Athena is . . . an old woman about a cubit high, the inscription calling her a handmaid of Lysimache, and large bronze figures of men facing each other for a fight, one of whom they call Erechtheus, the other Eumolpus; and yet those Athenians who are acquainted with antiquity must surely know that this victim of Erechtheus was Immaradus, the son of Eumolpus. On the pedestal are also statues of Theaenetus, who was seer to Tolmides, and of Tolmides himself, who when in command of the Athenian fleet inflicted severe damage upon the enemy, especially upon the Peloponnesians who dwell along the coast, burnt the dock-yards at Gythium and captured Boeae, belonging to the “provincials,” and the island of Cythera. He made a descent on Sicyonia, and, attacked by the citizens as he was laying waste the country, he put them to flight and chased them to the city. Returning afterwards to Athens, he conducted Athenian colonists to Euboea and Naxos and invaded Boeotia with an army. Having ravaged the greater part of the land and reduced Chaeronea by a siege, he advanced into the territory of Haliartus, where he was killed in battle and all his army worsted. Such was the history of Tolmides that I learnt. There are also old figures of Athena, no limbs of which indeed are missing, but they are rather black and too fragile to bear a blow. For they too were caught by the flames when the Athenians had gone on board their ships and the King captured the city emptied of its able-bodied inhabitants. There is also a boar-hunt (I do not know for certain whether it is the Calydonian boar) and Cycnus fighting with Heracles. This Cycnus is said to have killed, among others, Lycus a Thracian, a prize having been proposed for the winner of the duel, but near the river Peneius he was himself killed by Heracles. One of the Troezenian legends about Theseus is the following. When Heracles visited Pittheus at Troezen, he laid aside his lion's skin to eat his dinner, and there came in to see him some Troezenian children with Theseus, then about seven years of age. The story goes that when they saw the skin the other children ran away, but Theseus slipped out not much afraid, seized an axe from the servants and straightway attacked the skin in earnest, thinking it to be a lion. This is the first Troezenian legend about Theseus. The next is that Aegeus placed boots and a sword under a rock as tokens for the child, and then sailed away to Athens; Theseus, when sixteen years old, pushed the rock away and departed, taking what Aegeus had deposited. There is a representation of this legend on the Acropolis, everything in bronze except the rock. Another deed of Theseus they have represented in an offering, and the story about it is as follows– The land of the Cretans and especially that by the river Tethris was ravaged by a bull. It would seem that in the days of old the beasts were much more formidable to men, for example the Nemean lion, the lion of Parnassus, the serpents in many parts of Greece, and the boars of Calydon, Eryrmanthus and Crommyon in the land of Corinth, so that it was said that some were sent up by the earth, that others were sacred to the gods, while others had been let loose to punish mankind. And so the Cretans say that this bull was sent by Poseidon to their land because, although Minos was lord of the Greek Sea, he did not worship Poseidon more than any other god. They say that this bull crossed from Crete to the Peloponnesus, and came to be one of what are called the Twelve Labours of Heracles. When he was let loose on the Argive plain he fled through the isthmus of Corinth, into the land of Attica as far as the Attic parish of Marathon, killing all he met, including Androgeos, son of Minos. Minos sailed against Athens with a fleet, not believing that the Athenians were innocent of the death of Androgeos, and sorely harassed them until it was agreed that he should take seven maidens and seven boys for the Minotaur that was said to dwell in the Labyrinth at Cnossus. But the bull at Marathon Theseus is said to have driven afterwards to the Acropolis and to have sacrificed to the goddess; the offering commemorating this deed was dedicated by the parish of Marathon.https://www.theoi.com/Text/Pausanias1B.html#3 This passage continues exploring Athens, but in our next episode Theseus sails for Crete with the Athenian Youths.
12 minutes | Jun 1, 2019
LP0107 plLoT13 Tribute
Legendary Passages #0107, Plutarch's Life of Theseus, Section [XIII.], Tribute. Previously, after many labors Theseus arrived at Athens, drove off the witch Medea, and was recognized by his father as the crown prince. In this passage, Theseus contends with the sons of Pallas, the Marathonian Bull, and King Minos come again to collect his tribute. Long ago, King Pandion had four son: Pallas, Nisus, Lycus, and Aegeus, who might have been adopted. Aegeus became King of Athens, and when Minos' son Androgeus was killed while under his protection, Minos invaded. The forces of Crete laid siege to Athens; to break the stalemate, Aegeus agreed to give seven boys and seven girls as tribute to Crete every nine years thereafter. Though his people sacrificed their own flesh and blood, King Aegeus never had any children of his own. Naturally, Aegeus' brother Pallas and his fifty sons assumed eventually they would inherit the throne. But when a foreign prince named Theseus was named as heir, the sons of Pallas declared war. Leos of Agnes reported to Theseus where the bands of rebels were hiding, and Theseus and his forces defeated them all. Meanwhile, for his seventh labor, Heracles drove the Cretan bull to the Greek mainland, where it eventually terrorized the people of Marathon. On his way to subdue the beast, Theseus was given hospitality by an elderly woman named Hecale, who promised to make sacrifices if he returned safely. Theseus captured the bull and sacrificed it, but Hecale had already passed away. Lastly, Minos had returned to Athens for the third tribute, and the seven youths and seven maidens were either to be selected at random, or chosen by himself. No one knew if the Minotaur devoured them, or they starved to death in the depths of the Labyrinth, but none had ever returned. The people were upset that their new prince could not have been chosen the last time, so Theseus volunteered for the tribute freely, because according to the treaty, the tributes would come to an end if someone killed the Minotaur. Tribute, a Legendary Passage from, Bernadotte Perrin translating, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, Life of Theseus, Sections [XIII.] - [XVII.] https://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html XIII. Now the sons of Pallas had before this themselves hoped to gain possession of the kingdom when Aegeus died childless. But when Theseus was declared successor to the throne, exasperated that Aegeus should be king although he was only an adopted son of Pandion and in no way related to the family of Erechtheus, and again that Theseus should be prospective king although he was an immigrant and a stranger, they went to war. And dividing themselves into two bands, one of these marched openly against the city from Sphettus with their father; the other hid themselves at Gargettus and lay in ambush there, intending to attack their enemies from two sides. But there was a herald with them, a man of Agnus, by name Leos. This man reported to Theseus the designs of the Pallantidae. Theseus then fell suddenly upon the party lying in ambush, and slew them all. Thereupon the party with Pallas dispersed. This is the reason, they say, why the township of Pallene has no intermarriage with the township of Agnus, and why it will not even allow heralds to make their customary proclamation there of “Akouete leo!” (Hear, ye people!) For they hate the word on account of the treachery of the man Leos. XIV. But Theseus, desiring to be at work, and at the same time courting the favour of the people, went out against the Marathonian bull, which was doing no small mischief to the inhabitants of the Tetrapolis. After he had mastered it, he made a display of driving it alive through the city, and then sacrificed it to the Delphinian Apollo. Now the story of Hecale and her receiving and entertaining Theseus on this expedition seems not to be devoid of all truth. For the people of the townships round about used to assemble and sacrifice the Hecalesia to Zeus Hecalus, and they paid honors to Hecale, calling her by the diminutive name of Hecaline, because she too, when entertaining Theseus, in spite of the fact that he was quite a youth, caressed him as elderly people do, and called him affectionately by such diminutive names. And since she vowed, when the hero was going to his battle with the bull, that she would sacrifice to Zeus if he came back safe, but died before his return, she obtained the above mentioned honors as a return for her hospitality at the command of Theseus, as Philochorus has written. XV. Not long afterwards there came from Crete for the third time the collectors of the tribute. Now as to this tribute, most writers agree that because Androgeos was thought to have been treacherously killed within the confines of Attica, not only did Minos harass the inhabitants of that country greatly in war, but Heaven also laid it waste, for barrenness and pestilence smote it sorely, and its rivers dried up; also that when their god assured them in his commands that if they appeased Minos and became reconciled to him, the wrath of Heaven would abate and there would be an end of their miseries, they sent heralds and made their supplication and entered into an agreement to send him every nine years a tribute of seven youths and as many maidens. And the most dramatic version of the story declares that these young men and women, on being brought to Crete, were destroyed by the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, or else wandered about at their own will and, being unable to find an exit, perished there; and that the Minotaur, as Euripides says, was A mingled form and hybrid birth of monstrous shape, and that Two different natures, man and bull, were joined in him. XVI. Philochorus, however, says that the Cretans do not admit this, but declare that the Labyrinth was a dungeon, with no other inconvenience than that its prisoners could not escape; and that Minos instituted funeral games in honor of Androgeos, and as prizes for the victors, gave these Athenian youth, who were in the meantime imprisoned in the Labyrinth and that the victor in the first games was the man who had the greatest power at that time under Minos, and was his general, Taurus by name, who was not reasonable and gentle in his disposition, but treated the Athenian youth with arrogance and cruelty. And Aristotle himself also, in his Constitution of Bottiaea, clearly does not think that these youths were put to death by Minos, but that they spent the rest of their lives as slaves in Crete. And he says that the Cretans once, in fulfillment of an ancient vow, sent an offering of their first-born to Delphi, and that some descendants of those Athenians were among the victims, and went forth with them; and that when they were unable to support themselves there, they first crossed over into Italy and dwelt in that country round about Iapygia, and from there journeyed again into Thrace and were called Bottiaeans; and that this was the reason why the maidens of Bottiaea, in performing a certain sacrifice, sing as an accompaniment “To Athens let us go!” And verily it seems to be a grievous thing for a man to be at enmity with a city which has a language and a literature. For Minos was always abused and reviled in the Attic theaters, and it did not avail him either that Hesiod called him “most royal,” or that Homer styled him “a confidant of Zeus,” but the tragic poets prevailed, and from platform and stage showered obloquy down upon him, as a man of cruelty and violence. And yet they say that Minos was a king and lawgiver, and that Rhadamanthus was a judge under him, and a guardian of the principles of justice defined by him. XVII. Accordingly, when the time came for the third tribute, and it was necessary for the fathers who had youthful sons to present them for the lot, fresh accusations against Aegeus arose among the people, who were full of sorrow and vexation that he who was the cause of all their trouble alone had no share in the punishment, but devolved the kingdom upon a bastard and foreign son, and suffered them to be left destitute and bereft of legitimate children. These things troubled Theseus, who, thinking it right not to disregard but to share in the fortune of his fellow-citizens, came forward and offered himself independently of the lot. The citizens admired his noble courage and were delighted with his public spirit, and Aegeus, when he saw that his son was not to be won over or turned from his purpose by prayers and entreaties, cast the lots for the rest of the youths. Hellanicus, however, says that the city did not send its young men and maidens by lot, but that Minos himself used to come and pick them out, and that he now pitched upon Theseus first of all, following the terms agreed upon. And he says the agreement was that the Athenians should furnish the ship, and that the youths should embark and sail with him carrying no warlike weapon, and that if the Minotaur was killed the penalty should cease. https://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html This passage continues with the ship leaving under A Black Sail, but our next episode features The Marathonian Bull.
14 minutes | May 2, 2019
LP0106 pDoG2-2-3 Children of Corinth
Legendary Passages #0106,Pausanias' Description of Greece,Book [2.2.3],The Children of Corinth. Previously, Medea's children were killed after they brought poisoned gifts for their father's bride Glauce. In this passage we hear many myths about them and their mother before she flees to Athens. But first, a tour of Corinth. Lechaeum and Cenchreae are the harbors north of the city, followed by the grave of Lais, a courtesan known for her beauty. Next are carvings made from the tree Pentheus climbed to spy upon the female revelers of Dionysus. After the market-place is the spring of Peirene, and then the images of Hermes and the ram. After the baths, we come to the Well of Glauce, where the doomed bride of Jason tried to quell the burning chemicals of her poisoned crown and robe. Medea's children Mermerus and Pheres were buried nearby, after being stoned for bringing the gifts. After being expelled from Athens by Theseus, Medea had another son, either named Medus or Polyxenus. Eumelus said that the throne of Corinth once belonged to Medea's father Aeetes, and was subsequently ruled by Bunus, Epopeus, and Corinthus. Then the Corinthians sent for Medea to rule as Queen, making her husband Jason the King. After their children died, Jason sailed home and Medea gave the throne to King Sisyphus.The Children of Corinth,a Legendary Passage from,W. H. S. Jones translating,Pausanias,Description of Greece,Book [2.2.3] - [2.3.11].https://www.theoi.com/Text/Pausanias2A.html#4CORINTH The names of the Corinthian harbors were given them by Leches and Cenchrias, said to be the children of Poseidon and Peirene the daughter of Achelous, though in the poem called The Great Eoeae Peirene is said to be a daughter of Oebalus. In Lechaeum are a sanctuary and a bronze image of Poseidon, and on the road leading from the Isthmus to Cenchreae a temple and ancient wooden image of Artemis. In Cenchreae are a temple and a stone statue of Aphrodite, after it on the mole running into the sea a bronze image of Poseidon, and at the other end of the harbor sanctuaries of Asclepius and of Isis. Right opposite Cenchreae is Helen's Bath. It is a large stream of salt, tepid water, flowing from a rock into the sea. As one goes up to Corinth are tombs, and by the gate is buried Diogenes of Sinope, whom the Greeks surname the Dog. Before the city is a grove of cypresses called Craneum. Here are a precinct of Bellerophontes, a temple of Aphrodite Melaenis and the grave of Lais, upon which is set a lioness holding a ram in her fore-paws. There is in Thessaly another tomb which claims to be that of Lais, for she went to that country also when she fell in love with Hippostratus. The story is that originally she was of Hycara in Sicily. Taken captive while yet a girl by Nicias and the Athenians, she was sold and brought to Corinth, where she surpassed in beauty the courtesans of her time, and so won the admiration of the Corinthians that even now they claim Lais as their own. The things worthy of mention in the city include the extant remains of antiquity, but the greater number of them belong to the period of its second ascendancy. On the market-place, where most of the sanctuaries are, stand Artemis surnamed Ephesian and wooden images of Dionysus, which are covered with gold with the exception of their faces; these are ornamented with red paint. They are called Lysius and Baccheus, and I too give the story told about them. They say that Pentheus treated Dionysus despitefully, his crowning outrage being that he went to Cithaeron, to spy upon the women, and climbing up a tree beheld what was done. When the women detected Pentheus, they immediately dragged him down, and joined in tearing him, living as he was, limb from limb. Afterwards, as the Corinthians say, the Pythian priestess commanded them by an oracle to discover that tree and to worship it equally with the god. For this reason they have made these images from the tree. There is also a temple of Fortune, with a standing image of Parian marble. Beside it is a sanctuary for all the gods. Hard by is built a fountain, on which is a bronze Poseidon; under the feet of Poseidon is a dolphin spouting water. There is also a bronze Apollo surnamed Clarius and a statue of Aphrodite made by Hermogenes of Cythera. There are two bronze, standing images of Hermes, for one of which a temple has been made. The images of Zeus also are in the open; one had not a surname, another they call Chthonius (of the Lower World) and the third Most High. III. In the middle of the market-place is a bronze Athena, on the pedestal of which are wrought in relief figures of the Muses. Above the market-place is a temple of Octavia the sister of Augustus, who was emperor of the Romans after Caesar, the founder of the modern Corinth. On leaving the market-place along the road to Lechaeum you come to a gateway, on which are two gilded chariots, one carrying Phaethon the son of Helius (Sun), the other Helius himself. A little farther away from the gateway, on the right as you go in, is a bronze Heracles. After this is the entrance to the water of Peirene. The legend about Peirene is that she was a woman who became a spring because of her tears shed in lamentation for her son Cenchrias, who was unintentionally killed by Artemis. The spring is ornamented with white marble, and there have been made chambers like caves, out of which the water flows into an open-air well. It Is pleasant to drink, and they say that the Corinthian bronze, when red-hot, is tempered by this water, since bronze . . . the Corinthians have not. Moreover near Peirene are an image and a sacred enclosure of Apollo; in the latter is a painting of the exploit of Odysseus against the suitors. Proceeding on the direct road to Lechaeum we see a bronze image of a seated Hermes. By him stands a ram, for Hermes is the god who is thought most to care for and to increase flocks, as Homer puts it in the Iliad:– Son was he of Phorbas, the dearest of Trojans to Hermes, Rich in flocks, for the god vouchsafed him wealth in abundance. Hom. Il. . The story told at the mysteries of the Mother about Hermes and the ram I know but do not relate. After the image of Hermes come Poseidon, Leucothea, and Palaemon on a dolphin. The Corinthians have baths in many parts of the city, some put up at the public charge and one by the emperor Hadrian. The most famous of them is near the Poseidon. It was made by the Spartan Eurycles, who beautified it with various kinds of stone, especially the one quarried at Croceae in Laconia. On the left of the entrance stands a Poseidon, and after him Artemis hunting. Throughout the city are many wells, for the Corinthians have a copious supply of flowing water, besides the water which the emperor Hadrian brought from Lake Stymphalus, but the most noteworthy is the one by the side of the image of Artemis. Over it is a Bellerophontes, and the water flows through the hoof of the horse Pegasus. As you go along another road from the market-place, which leads to Sicyon, you can see on the right of the road a temple and bronze image of Apollo, and a little farther on a well called the Well of Glauce. Into this they say she threw herself in the belief that the water would be a cure for the drugs of Medea. Above this well has been built what is called the Odeum (Music Hall), beside which is the tomb of Medea's children. Their names were Mermerus and Pheres, and they are said to have been stoned to death by the Corinthians owing to the gifts which legend says they brought to Glauce. But as their death was violent and illegal, the young babies of the Corinthians were destroyed by them until, at the command of the oracle, yearly sacrifices were established in their honor and a figure of Terror was set up. This figure still exists, being the likeness of a woman frightful to look upon but after Corinth was laid waste by the Romans and the old Corinthians were wiped out, the new settlers broke the custom of offering those sacrifices to the sons of Medea, nor do their children cut their hair for them or wear black clothes. On the occasion referred to Medea went to Athens and married Aegeus, but subsequently she was detected plotting against Theseus and fled from Athens also; coming to the land then called Aria she caused its inhabitants to be named after her Medes. The son, whom she brought with her in her flight to the Arii, they say she had by Aegeus, and that his name was Medus. Hellanicus, however, calls him Polyxenus and says that his father was Jason. The Greeks have an epic poem called Naupactia. In this Jason is represented as having removed his home after the death of Pelias from Iolcus to Corcyra, and Mermerus, the elder of his children, to have been killed by a lioness while hunting on the mainland opposite. Of Pheres is recorded nothing. But Cinaethon of Lacedaemon, another writer of pedigrees in verse, said that Jason's children by Medea were a son Medeus and a daughter Eriopis; he too, however, gives no further information about these children. Eumelus said that Helius (Sun) gave the Asopian land to Aloeus and Epliyraea to Aeetes. When Aeetes was departing for Colchis he entrusted his land to Bunus, the son of Hermes and Alcidamea, and when Bunus died Epopeus the son of Aloeus extended his kingdom to include the Ephyraeans. Afterwards, when Corinthus, the son of Marathon, died childless, the Corinthians sent for Medea from Iolcus and bestowed upon her the kingdom. Through her Jason was king in Corinth, and Medea, as her children were born, carried each to the sanctuary of Hera and concealed them, doing so in the belief that so they would be immortal. At last she learned that her hopes were vain, and at the same time she was detected by Jason. When she begged for pardon he refused it, and sailed away to Iolcus. For these reasons Medea too departed, and handed over the kingdom to Sisyphus.https://www.theoi.com/Text/Pausanias2A.html#4 This passage continues with descriptions of Corinth & Sicyon, but in our next episode King Minos comes to Athens for his Tribute.
15 minutes | Apr 16, 2019
LP0105 pDoG1-44-6 The Corinthian Isthmus
Legendary Passages #0105,Pausanias' Description of Greece,Book [1.44.6],The Corinthian Isthmus. Previously, Theseus traveled the road from Troezen to Athens around the Saronic Gulf. In this passage, we explore in the opposite direction, from the Scironian Road, Cromyon, and then to the Isthmus. First is the white Megarean mussel stones along the road to the Molurian Rock, where Ino & Melicertes jumped into the sea, and became known as Leucothea & Palaemon. Later, Sciron fed strangers to the giant sea tortoises below the cliff. Cromyon, where Theseus slaughtered Phaea the sow, is where King Sisyphus found the body of Palaemon. The Isthmus proper is where Theseus killed Sinis the Pine-Bender, after slaying Pheriphetes the Club-Bearer. Alexander the Great tried to dig a channel connecting the gulfs, but it was only completed in recent times. The sanctuary of Poseidon is full of offerings, and nearby is a temple of Palaemon, and the alter of the Cyclopes. The tombs of Sisyphus and Neleus have been lost to history.The Corinthian Isthmus,a Legendary Passage from,W. H. S. Jones translating,Pausanias,Description of Greece,Books [1.44.6] - [2.2.2].https://www.theoi.com/Text/Pausanias1C.html#20SCIRONIAN ROAD On the road from Megara to Corinth are graves, including that of the Samian flute-player Telephanes, said to have been made by Cleopatra, daughter of Philip, son of Amyntas. There is also the tomb of Car, son of Phoroneus, which was originally a mound of earth, but afterwards, at the command of the oracle, it was adorned with mussel stone. The Megarians are the only Greeks to possess this stone, and in the city also they have made many things out of it. It is very white, and softer than other stone; in it throughout are sea mussels. Such is the nature of the stone. The road called Scironian to this day and named after Sciron, was made by him when he was war minister of the Megarians, and originally they say was constructed for the use of active men. But the emperor Hadrian broadened it, and made it suitable even for chariots to pass each other in opposite directions. There are legends about the rocks, which rise especially at the narrow part of the road. As to the Molurian, it is said that from it Ino flung her self into the sea with Melicertes, the younger of her children. Learchus, the elder of them, had been killed by his father. One account is that Athamas did this in a fit of madness; another is that he vented on Ino and her children unbridled rage when he learned that the famine which befell the Orchomenians and the supposed death of Phrixus were not accidents from heaven, but that Ino, the step-mother, had intrigued for all these things. Then it was that she fled to the sea and cast herself and her son from the Molurian Rock. The son, they say, was landed on the Corinthian Isthmus by a dolphin, and honors were offered to Melicertes, then renamed Palaemon, including the celebration of the Isthmian games. The Molurian dock they thought sacred to Leucothea and Palaemon; but those after it they consider accursed, in that Sciron, who dwelt by them, used to cast into the sea all the strangers he met. A tortoise used to swim under the rocks to seize those that fell in. Sea tortoises are like land tortoises except in size and for their feet, which are like those of seals. Retribution for these deeds overtook Sciron, for he was cast into the same sea by Theseus. On the top of the mountain is a temple of Zeus surnamed Aphesius (Releaser). It is said that on the occasion of the drought that once afflicted the Greeks Aeacus in obedience to an oracular utterance sacrificed in Aegina to Zeus God of all the Greeks, and Zeus rained and ended the drought, gaining thus the name Aphesius. Here there are also images of Aphrodite, Apollo, and Pan. Farther on is the tomb of Eurystheus. The story is that he fled from Attica after the battle with the Heracleidae and was killed here by Iolaus. When you have gone down from this road you see a sanctuary of Apollo Latous, after which is the boundary between Megara and Corinth, where legend says that Hyllus, son of Heracles, fought a duel with the Arcadian Echemus.CORINTH (MYTHICAL HISTORY) The Corinthian land is a portion of the Argive, and is named after Corinthus. That Corinthus was a son of Zeus I have never known anybody say seriously except the majority of the Corinthians. Eumelus, the son of Amphilytus, of the family called Bacchidae, who is said to have composed the epic poem, says in his Corinthian History (if indeed the history be his) that Ephyra, the daughter of Oceanus, dwelt first in this land; that afterwards Marathon, the son of Epopeus, the son of Aloeus, the son of Helius (Sun), fleeing from the lawless violence of his father migrated to the sea coast of Attica; that on the death of Epopeus he came to Peloponnesus, divided his kingdom among his sons, and returned to Attica; and that Asopia was renamed after Sicyon, and Ephyraea after Corinthus.CORINTH Corinth is no longer inhabited by any of the old Corinthians, but by colonists sent out by the Romans. This change is due to the Achaean League. The Corinthians, being members of it, joined in the war against the Romans, which Critolaus, when appointed general of the Achaeans, brought about by persuading to revolt both the Achaeans and the majority of the Greeks outside the Peloponnesus. When the Romans won the war, they carried out a general disarmament of the Greeks and dismantled the walls of such cities as were fortified. Corinth was laid waste by Mummius, who at that time commanded the Romans in the field, and it is said that it was afterwards refounded by Caesar, who was the author of the present constitution of Rome. Carthage, too, they say, was refounded in his reign.CROMYON In the Corinthian territory is also the place called Cromyon from Cromus the son of Poseidon. Here they say that Phaea was bred; overcoming this sow was one of the traditional achievements of Theseus. Farther on the pine still grew by the shore at the time of my visit, and there was an altar of Melicertes. At this place, they say, the boy was brought ashore by a dolphin; Sisyphus found him lying and gave him burial on the Isthmus, establishing the Isthmian games in his honor.THE ISTHMUS At the beginning of the Isthmus is the place where the brigand Sinis used to take hold of pine trees and draw them down. All those whom he overcame in fight he used to tie to the trees, and then allow them to swing up again. Thereupon each of the pines used to drag to itself the bound man, and as the bond gave way in neither direction but was stretched equally in both, he was torn in two. This was the way in which Sinis himself was slain by Theseus. For Theseus rid of evildoers the road from Troezen to Athens, killing those whom I have enumerated and, in sacred Epidaurus, Periphetes, thought to be the son of Hephaestus, who used to fight with a bronze club. The Corinthian Isthmus stretches on the one hand to the sea at Cenchreae, and on the other to the sea at Lechaeum. For this is what makes the region to the south mainland. He who tried to make the Peloponnesus an island gave up before digging through the Isthmus. Where they began to dig is still to be seen, but into the rock they did not advance at all. So it still is mainland as its nature is to be. Alexander the son of Philip wished to dig through Mimas, and his attempt to do this was his only unsuccessful project. The Cnidians began to dig through their isthmus, but the Pythian priestess stopped them. So difficult it is for man to alter by violence what Heaven has made. A legend of the Corinthians about their land is not peculiar to them, for I believe that the Athenians were the first to relate a similar story to glorify Attica. The Corinthians say that Poseidon had a dispute with Helius (Sun) about the land, and that Briareos arbitrated between them, assigning to Poseidon the Isthmus and the parts adjoining, and giving to Helius the height above the city. Ever since, they say, the Isthmus has belonged to Poseidon. Worth seeing here are a theater and a white-marble race-course. Within the sanctuary of the god stand on the one side portrait statues of athletes who have won victories at the Isthmian games, on the other side pine trees growing in a row, the greater number of them rising up straight. On the temple, which is not very large, stand bronze Tritons. In the fore-temple are images, two of Poseidon, a third of Amphitrite, and a Sea, which also is of bronze. The offerings inside were dedicated in our time by Herodes the Athenian, four horses, gilded except for the hoofs, which are of ivory, and two gold Tritons beside the horses, with the parts below the waist of ivory. On the car stand Amphitrite and Poseidon, and there is the boy Palaemon upright upon a dolphin. These too are made of ivory and gold. On the middle of the base on which the car is has been wrought a Sea holding up the young Aphrodite, and on either side are the nymphs called Nereids. I know that there are altars to these in other parts of Greece, and that some Greeks have even dedicated to them precincts by shores, where honors are also paid to Achilles. In Gabala is a holy sanctuary of Doto, where there was still remaining the robe by which the Greeks say that Eriphyle was bribed to wrong her son Alcmaeon. Among the reliefs on the base of the statue of Poseidon are the sons of Tyndareus, because these too are saviours of ships and of sea-faring men. The other offerings are images of Calm and of Sea, a horse like a whale from the breast onward, Ino and Bellerophontes, and the horse Pegasus. Within the enclosure is on the left a temple of Palaemon, with images in it of Poseidon, Leucothea and Palaemon himself. There is also what is called his Holy of Holies, and an underground descent to it, where they say that Palaemon is concealed. Whosoever, whether Corinthian or stranger, swears falsely here, can by no means escape from his oath. There is also an ancient sanctuary called the altar of the Cyclopes, and they sacrifice to the Cyclopes upon it. The graves of Sisyphus and of Neleus – for they say that Neleus came to Corinth, died of disease, and was buried near t
15 minutes | Apr 8, 2019
LP0104 plLoT6 Labors of Theseus
Legendary Passages #0104,Plutarch's Life of Theseus,Section [VI.],Labors of Theseus. Previously, Theseus learned that he was the son of Aegeus, king of Athens. In this passage, Theseus makes his way to Athens to be recognized as his father's heir. Theseus retrieved his father's sword and sandals from under a boulder, but then refused to sail to Athens, wanting to go by land instead. His grandfather told him of the terrible bandits and beasts that lay on the road around the Saronic Gulf, but Theseus wanted to earn some glory for himself in the manner of his cousin Heracles. The first bandit was the Club-Bearer Periphetes; Theseus killed him and kept the club thereafter. Second was the Pine-Bender Sinis; his daughter Perigune bore Theseus a son named Melanippus. Third was the Crommyonian Sow called Phaea, either a gigantic pig or a monstrous lady. Fourth may have been Sciron of Megara, who was either a bandit with dirty feet, or an enemy general killed in war sometime later. After killing the Wrestler Cercyon, Theseus slew Damastes via his own Procrustean Bed. Finally, after being purified of bloodshed, Theseus arrived in Athens to discover that Aegeus had married the sorceress Medea. She planned to poison Theseus' wine, but when he pulled out his sword to carve meat, Aegeus recognized it and pushed the goblet away from his son's lips. Because of his deeds and valor, when Aegeus announced that Theseus was his heir, the citizens of Athens received him gladly.Labors of Theseus,a Legendary Passage from,Bernadotte Perrin translating,Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus,Life of Theseus,Sections [VI.] - [XII.]https://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html Theseus put his shoulder to the rock and easily raised it up, but he refused to make his journey by sea, although safety lay in that course, and his grandfather and his mother begged him to take it. For it was difficult to make the journey to Athens by land, since no part of it was clear nor yet without peril from robbers and miscreants. For verily that age produced men who, in work of hand and speed of foot and vigor of body, were extraordinary and indefatigable, but they applied their powers to nothing that was fitting or useful. Nay rather, they exulted in monstrous insolence, and reaped from their strength a harvest of cruelty and bitterness, mastering and forcing and destroying everything that came in their path. And as for reverence and righteousness, justice and humanity, they thought that most men praised these qualities for lack of courage to do wrong and for fear of being wronged, and considered them no concern of men who were strong enough to get the upper hand. Some of these creatures Heracles cut off and destroyed as he went about, but some escaped his notice as he passed by, crouching down and shrinking back, and were overlooked in their abjectness. And when Heracles met with calamity and, after the slaying of Iphitus, removed into Lydia and for a long time did slave's service there in the house of Omphale, then Lydia indeed obtained great peace and security; but in the regions of Hellas the old villainies burst forth and broke out anew, there being none to rebuke and none to restrain them. The journey was therefore a perilous one for travellers by land from Peloponnesus to Athens, and Pittheus, by describing each of the miscreants at length, what sort of a monster he was, and what deeds he wrought upon strangers, tried to persuade Theseus to make his journey by sea. But he, as it would seem, had long since been secretly fired by the glorious valor of Heracles, and made the greatest account of that hero, and was a most eager listener to those who told what manner of man he was, and above all to those who had seen him and been present at some deed or speech of his. And it is altogether plain that he then experienced what Themistocles many generations afterwards experienced, when he said that he could not sleep for the trophy of Miltiades. In like manner Theseus admired the valor of Heracles, until by night his dreams were of the hero's achievements, and by day his ardor led him along and spurred him on in his purpose to achieve the like. VII. And besides, they were kinsmen, being sons of cousins-german. For Aethra was daughter of Pittheus, as Alcmene was of Lysidice, and Lysidice and Pittheus were brother and sister, children of Hippodameia and Pelops. Accordingly, he thought it a dreadful and unendurable thing that his famous cousin should go out against the wicked everywhere and purge land and sea of them, while he himself ran away from the struggles which lay in his path, disgracing his reputed father by journeying like a fugitive over the sea, and bringing to his real father as proofs of his birth only sandals and a sword unstained with blood, instead of at once offering noble deeds and achievements as the manifest mark of his noble birth. In such a spirit and with such thoughts he set out, determined to do no man any wrong, but to punish those who offered him violence. VIII. And so in the first place, in Epidauria, when Periphetes, who used a club as his weapon and on this account was called Club-bearer, laid hold of him and tried to stop his progress, he grappled with him and slew him. And being pleased with the club, he took it and made it his weapon and continued to use it, just as Heracles did with the lion's skin. That hero wore the skin to prove how great a wild beast he had mastered, and so Theseus carried the club to show that although it had been vanquished by him, in his own hands it was invincible. On the Isthmus, too, he slew Sinis the Pine-bender in the very manner in which many men had been destroyed by himself, and he did this without practice or even acquaintance with the monster's device, but showing that valor is superior to all device and practice. Now Sinis had a very beautiful and stately daughter, named Perigune. This daughter took to flight when her father was killed, and Theseus went about in search of her. But she had gone off into a place which abounded greatly in shrubs and rushes and wild asparagus, and with exceeding innocence and childish simplicity was supplicating these plants, as if they understood her, and vowing that if they would hide and save her, she would never trample them down nor burn them. When, however, Theseus called upon her and gave her a pledge that he would treat her honorably and do her no wrong, she came forth, and after consorting with Theseus, bore him Melanippus, and afterwards lived with Deioneus, son of Eurytus the Oechalian, to whom Theseus gave her. From Melanippus the son of Theseus, Ioxus was born, who took part with Ornytus in leading a colony into Caria whence it is ancestral usage with the Ioxids, men and women, not to burn either the asparagus-thorn or the rush, but to revere and honor them. IX. Now the Crommyonian sow, which they called Phaea, was no insignificant creature, but fierce and hard to master. This sow he went out of his way to encounter and slay, that he might not be thought to perform all his exploits under compulsion, and at the same time because he thought that while the brave man ought to attack villainous men only in self defence, he should seek occasion to risk his life in battle with the nobler beasts. However, some say that Phaea was a female robber, a woman of murderous and unbridled spirit, who dwelt in Crommyon, was called Sow because of her life and manners, and was afterwards slain by Theseus. X. He also slew Sciron on the borders of Megara, by hurling him down the cliffs. Sciron robbed the passers by, according to the prevalent tradition; but as some say, he would insolently and wantonly thrust out his feet to strangers and bid them wash them, and then, while they were washing them, kick them off into the sea. Megarian writers, however, taking issue with current report, and, as Simonides expresses it, “waging war with antiquity,” say that Sciron was neither a violent man nor a robber, but a chastiser of robbers, and a kinsman and friend of good and just men. For Aeacus, they say, is regarded as the most righteous of Hellenes, and Cychreus the Salaminian has divine honors at Athens, and the virtues of Peleus and Telamon are known to all men. Well, then, Sciron was a son-in-law of Cychreus, father-in-law of Aeacus, and grandfather of Peleus and Telamon, who were the sons of Endeis, daughter of Sciron and Chariclo. It is not likely, then, they say, that the best of men made family alliances with the basest, receiving and giving the greatest and most valuable pledges. It was not, they say, when Theseus first journeyed to Athens, but afterwards, that he captured Eleusis from the Megarians, having circumvented Diocles its ruler, and slew Sciron. Such, then, are the contradictions in which these matters are involved. XI. In Eleusis, moreover, he out-wrestled Cercyon the Arcadian and killed him and going on a little farther, at Erineus, he killed Damastes, surnamed Procrustes, by compelling him to make his own body fit his bed, as he had been wont to do with those of strangers. And he did this in imitation of Heracles. For that hero punished those who offered him violence in the manner in which they had plotted to serve him, and therefore sacrificed Busiris, wrestled Antaeus to death, slew Cycnus in single combat, and killed Termerus by dashing in his skull. It is from him, indeed, as they say, that the name “Termerian mischief” comes, for Termerus, as it would seem, used to kill those who encountered him by dashing his head against theirs. Thus Theseus also went on his way chastising the wicked, who were visited with the same violence from him which they were visiting upon others, and suffered justice after the manner of their own injustice. XII. As he went forward on his journey and came to the river Cephisus, he was met by men of the race of the Phytalidae, who greeted him first, and when he asked to be purified from bloodshed, cleansed him with the customary rites, made propitiatory sacrifices, and feasted him at their house. This was the first kindness which he met with on his journey. It was, then, on the eighth day of the month Cronius, now called Hecatombaeon, that he is said to have arrived at At
12 minutes | Mar 27, 2019
LP0103 plLoT1 The Parallel Lives
Legendary Passages #0103,Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus,Life of Theseus [I. - VI.]The Parallel Lives. This passage begins Plutarch's comparison between the Life of Theseus and the Life of Romulus, founder of Rome. There are a few notable parallels, including questionable or divine parentage, strength and cunning, foundation of empires, terrible relationships, and feuds with family and countrymen. The story of Theseus began with wise Pittheus, son of Pelops, and King Aegeus, descendant of Erectheus. Aegeus went to an oracle to find out how to become a father, and then went to Pittheus to understand the strange reply. After a night of wine and romance, Aegeus suspected he had gotten Pittheus' daughter Aethra with child. He hid his sword and sandals under a rock for his son to retrieve when he came of age. Aethra had a son named Theseus, whose father was rumored to be the sea god Poseidon, and he was raised by his grandfather Pittheus. After visiting Delphi and sacrificing some of his hair to Apollo, Aethra told Theseus to retrieve his father's tokens and set out for the city of Athens.The Parallel Lives,a Legendary Passage from,Bernadotte Perrin translating,Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus,Life of Theseus,[I. - VI.]https://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html I. Just as geographers, O Socius Senecio, crowd on to the outer edges of their maps the parts of the earth which elude their knowledge, with explanatory notes that “What lies beyond is sandy desert without water and full of wild beasts,” or “blind marsh,” or “Scythian cold,” or “frozen sea,” so in the writing of my Parallel Lives, now that I have traversed those periods of time which are accessible to probable reasoning and which afford basis for a history dealing with facts, I might well say of the earlier periods “What lies beyond is full of marvels and unreality, a land of poets and fabulists, of doubt and obscurity.” But after publishing my account of Lycurgus the lawgiver and Numa the king, I thought I might not unreasonably go back still farther to Romulus, now that my history had brought me near his times. And as I asked myself, "With such a warrior” (as Aeschylus says) “who will dare to fight? "Whom shall I set against him? Who is competent?”it seemed to me that I must make the founder of lovely and famous Athens the counterpart and parallel to the father of invincible and glorious Rome. May I therefore succeed in purifying Fable, making her submit to reason and take on the semblance of History. But where she obstinately disdains to make herself credible, and refuses to admit any element of probability, I shall pray for kindly readers, and such as receive with indulgence the tales of antiquity. II. It seemed to me, then, that many resemblances made Theseus a fit parallel to Romulus. For both were of uncertain and obscure parentage, and got the reputation of descent from gods; "Both were also warriors, as surely the whole world knoweth,”and with their strength, combined sagacity. Of the world's two most illustrious cities, moreover, Rome and Athens, Romulus founded the one, and Theseus made a metropolis of the other, and each resorted to the rape of women. Besides, neither escaped domestic misfortunes and the resentful anger of kindred, but even in their last days both are said to have come into collision with their own fellow-citizens, if there is any aid to the truth in what seems to have been told with the least poetic exaggeration. III. The lineage of Theseus, on the father's side, goes back to Erechtheus and the first children of the soil; on the mother's side, to Pelops. For Pelops was the strongest of the kings in Peloponnesus quite as much on account of the number of his children as the amount of his wealth. He gave many daughters in marriage to men of highest rank, and scattered many sons among the cities as their rulers. One of these, named Pittheus, the grandfather of Theseus, founded the little city of Troezen, and had the highest repute as a man versed in the lore of his times and of the greatest wisdom. Now the wisdom of that day had some such form and force as that for which Hesiod was famous, especially in the sententious maxims of his Works and Days. One of these maxims is ascribed to Pittheus, namely "Payment pledged to a man who is dear must be ample and certain."At any rate, this is what Aristotle the philosopher says, and Euripides, when he has Hippolytus addressed as “nursling of the pure and holy Pittheus,” shows what the world thought of Pittheus. Now Aegeus, king of Athens, desiring to have children, is said to have received from the Pythian priestess the celebrated oracle in which she bade him to have intercourse with no woman until he came to Athens. But Aegeus thought the words of the command somewhat obscure, and therefore turned aside to Troezen and communicated to Pittheus the words of the god, which ran as follows: -- "Loose not the wine-skin's jutting neck, great chief of the people, Until thou shalt have come once more to the city of Athens.” This dark saying Pittheus apparently understood, and persuaded him, or beguiled him, to have intercourse with his daughter Aethra. Aegeus did so, and then learning that it was the daughter of Pittheus with whom he had consorted, and suspecting that she was with child by him, he left a sword and a pair of sandals hidden under a great rock, which had a hollow in it just large enough to receive these objects. He told the princess alone about this, and bade her, if a son should be born to her from him, and if, when he came to man's estate, he should be able to lift up the rock and take away what had been left under it, to send that son to him with the tokens, in all secrecy, and concealing his journey as much as possible from everybody; for he was mightily in fear of the sons of Pallas, who were plotting against him, and who despised him on account of his childlessness; and they were fifty in number, these sons of Pallas. Then he went away. IV. When Aethra gave birth to a son, he was at once named Theseus, as some say, because the tokens for his recognition had been “placed” in hiding; but others say that it was afterwards at Athens, when Aegeus “acknowledged” him as his son. He was reared by Pittheus, as they say, and had an overseer and tutor named Connidas. To this man, even down to the present time, the Athenians sacrifice a ram on the day before the festival of Theseus, remembering him and honoring him with far greater justice than they honor Silanio and Parrhasius, who merely painted and moulded likenesses of Theseus. V. Since it was still a custom at that time for youth who were coming of age to go to Delphi and sacrifice some of their hair to the god, Theseus went to Delphi for this purpose, and they say there is a place there which still to this day is called the Theseia from him. But he sheared only the fore part of his head, just as Homer said the Abantes did, and this kind of tonsure was called Theseis after him. Now the Abantes were the first to cut their hair in this manner, not under instruction from the Arabians, as some suppose, nor yet in emulation of the Mysians, but because they were war-like men and close fighters, who had learned beyond all other men to force their way into close quarters with their enemies. Archilochus is witness to this in the following words: -- "Not many bows indeed will be stretched tight, nor frequent slings Be whirled, when Ares joins men in the moil of war Upon the plain, but swords will do their mournful work; For this is the warfare wherein those men are expert Who lord it over Euboea and are famous with the spear." Therefore, in order that they might not give their enemies a hold by their hair, they cut it off. And Alexander of Macedon doubtless understood this when, as they say, he ordered his generals to have the beards of their Macedonians shaved, since these afforded the readiest hold in battle. VI. During the rest of the time, then, Aethra kept his true birth concealed from Theseus, and a report was spread abroad by Pittheus that he was begotten by Poseidon. For Poseidon is highly honored by the people of Troezen, and he is the patron god of their city; to him they offer first fruits in sacrifice, and they have his trident as an emblem on their coinage. But when, in his young manhood, Theseus displayed, along with his vigor of body, prowess also, and a firm spirit united with intelligence and sagacity, then Aethra brought him to the rock, told him the truth about his birth, and bade him take away his fathers tokens and go by sea to Athens.https://www.theoi.com/Text/PlutarchTheseus.html This passage continues next episode with the Labors of Theseus.
15 minutes | Mar 7, 2019
LP0102 LoA3-15-2 Kings of Athens
Legendary Passages #0102,Pseudo-Apollodorus,The Library Book 3 [3.15.2],Kings of Athens. This passage recounts the genealogy and history of Theseus, his father Aegeus, his father Pandion the second, his father Cecrops, his father Erectheus, and his father Pandion the first. Now, Pandion the first had many children after Erectheus, including a son Metion and a daughter Orithyia. After Erectheus died, his son Cecrops became King. But his son Pandion the second went to Megara, married Pylia daughter of King Pylas, and had sons Aegeus, Pallas, Nisus, and Lycus. Meanwhile, Minos took his revenge on the sons of Pandion for the death of his own son. Minos attacked Athens, but the war ended in a stalemate. As Tribute, seven youths and maidens were to be sent to the Minotaur's Labyrinth, constructed by Daedalus. Finally, Theseus came of age, and after clearing the road of Periphetes the Clubman, Sinis the Pine-Bender, the Crommyonian Sow, Sciron the Corinthian, Cercyon the Wrestler, and Procrustes the Stretcher, Theseus arrived at Athens with his father's sword and sandals.Kings of Athens,a Legendary Passage from,J. G. Frazer translating,Pseudo-Apollodorus,The Library Book 3,[3.15.2] - [E.1.4]https://www.theoi.com/Text/Apollodorus3.html#16 While Orithyia was playing by the Ilissus river, Boreas carried her off and had intercourse with her; and she bore daughters, Cleopatra and Chione, and winged sons, Zetes and Calais. These sons sailed with Jason and met their end in chasing the Harpies; but according to Acusilaus, they were killed by Hercules in Tenos. Cleopatra was married to Phineus, who had by her two sons, Plexippus and Pandion. When he had these sons by Cleopatra, he married Idaea, daughter of Dardanus. She falsely accused her stepsons to Phineus of corrupting her virtue, and Phineus, believing her, blinded them both. But when the Argonauts sailed past with Boreas, they punished him. Chione had connexion with Poseidon, and having given birth to Eumolpus unknown to her father, in order not to be detected, she flung the child into the deep. But Poseidon picked him up and conveyed him to Ethiopia, and gave him to Benthesicyme (a daughter of his own by Amphitrite) to bring up. When he was full grown, Benthesicyme's husband gave him one of his two daughters. But he tried to force his wife's sister, and being banished on that account, he went with his son Ismarus to Tegyrius, king of Thrace, who gave his daughter in marriage to Eumolpus's son. But being afterwards detected in a plot against Tegyrius, he fled to the Eleusinians and made friends with them. Later, on the death of Ismarus, he was sent for by Tegyrius and went, composed his old feud with him, and succeeded to the kingdom. And war having broken out between the Athenians and the Eleusinians, he was called in by the Eleusinians and fought on their side with a large force of Thracians. When Erechtheus inquired of the oracle how the Athenians might be victorious, the god answered that they would win the war if he would slaughter one of his daughters; and when he slaughtered his youngest, the others also slaughtered themselves; for, as some said, they had taken an oath among themselves to perish together. In the battle which took place after the slaughter, Erechtheus killed Eumolpus. But Poseidon having destroyed Erechtheus and his house, Cecrops, the eldest of the sons of Erechtheus, succeeded to the throne. He married Metiadusa, daughter of Eupalamus, and begat Pandion. This Pandion, reigning after Cecrops, was expelled by the sons of Metion in a sedition, and going to Pylas at Megara married his daughter Pylia. And at a later time he was even appointed king of the city; for Pylas slew his father's brother Bias and gave the kingdom to Pandion, while he himself repaired to Peloponnese with a body of people and founded the city of Pylus. While Pandion was at Megara, he had sons born to him, to wit, Aegeus, Pallas, Nisus, and Lycus. But some say that Aegeus was a son of Scyrius, but was passed off by Pandion as his own. After the death of Pandion his sons marched against Athens, expelled the Metionids, and divided the government in four; but Aegeus had the whole power. The first wife whom he married was Meta, daughter of Hoples, and the second was Chalciope, daughter of Rhexenor. As no child was born to him, he feared his brothers, and went to Pythia and consulted the oracle concerning the begetting of children. The god answered him:The bulging mouth of the wineskin, O best of men, loose not until thou hast reached the height of Athens. Not knowing what to make of the oracle, he set out on his return to Athens. And journeying by way of Troezen, he lodged with Pittheus, son of Pelops, who, understanding the oracle, made him drunk and caused him to lie with his daughter Aethra. But in the same night Poseidon also had connexion with her. Now Aegeus charged Aethra that, if she gave birth to a male child, she should rear it, without telling whose it was; and he left a sword and sandals under a certain rock, saying that when the boy could roll away the rock and take them up, she was then to send him away with them. But he himself came to Athens and celebrated the games of the Panathenian festival, in which Androgeus, son of Minos, vanquished all comers. Him Aegeus sent against the bull of Marathon, by which he was destroyed. But some say that as he journeyed to Thebes to take part in the games in honor of Laius, he was waylaid and murdered by the jealous competitors. But when the tidings of his death were brought to Minos, as he was sacrificing to the Graces in Paros, he threw away the garland from his head and stopped the music of the flute, but nevertheless completed the sacrifice; hence down to this day they sacrifice to the Graces in Paros without flutes and garlands. But not long afterwards, being master of the sea, he attacked Athens with a fleet and captured Megara, then ruled by king Nisus, son of Pandion, and he slew Megareus, son of Hippomenes, who had come from Onchestus to the help of Nisus. Now Nisus perished through his daughter's treachery. For he had a purple hair on the middle of his head, and an oracle ran that when it was pulled out he should die; and his daughter Scylla fell in love with Minos and pulled out the hair. But when Minos had made himself master of Megara, he tied the damsel by the feet to the stern of the ship and drowned her. When the war lingered on and he could not take Athens, he prayed to Zeus that he might be avenged on the Athenians. And the city being visited with a famine and a pestilence, the Athenians at first, in obedience to an ancient oracle, slaughtered the daughters of Hyacinth, to wit, Antheis, Aegleis, Lytaea, and Orthaea, on the grave of Geraestus, the Cyclops; now Hyacinth, the father of the damsels, had come from Lacedaemon and dwelt in Athens. But when this was of no avail, they inquired of the oracle how they could be delivered; and the god answered them that they should give Minos whatever satisfaction he might choose. So they sent to Minos and left it to him to claim satisfaction. And Minos ordered them to send seven youths and the same number of damsels without weapons to be fodder for the Minotaur. Now the Minotaur was confined in a labyrinth, in which he who entered could not find his way out; for many a winding turn shut off the secret outward way. The labyrinth was constructed by Daedalus, whose father was Eupalamus, son of Metion, and whose mother was Alcippe; for he was an excellent architect and the first inventor of images. He had fled from Athens, because he had thrown down from the acropolis Talos, the son of his sister Perdix; for Talos was his pupil, and Daedalus feared that with his talents he might surpass himself, seeing that he had sawed a thin stick with a jawbone of a snake which he had found. But the corpse was discovered; Daedalus was tried in the Areopagus, and being condemned fled to Minos. And there Pasiphae having fallen in love with the bull of Poseidon, Daedalus acted as her accomplice by contriving a wooden cow, and he constructed the labyrinth, to which the Athenians every year sent seven youths and as many damsels to be fodder for the Minotaur. Aethra bore to Aegeus a son Theseus, and when he was grown up, he pushed away the rock and took up the sandals and the sword, and hastened on foot to Athens. And he cleared the road, which had been beset by evildoers. For first in Epidaurus he slew Periphetes, son of Hephaestus and Anticlia, who was surnamed the Clubman from the club which he carried. For being crazy on his legs he carried an iron club, with which he despatched the passers-by. That club Theseus wrested from him and continued to carry about. Second, he killed Sinis, son of Polypemon and Sylea, daughter of Corinthus. This Sinis was surnamed the Pine-bender; for inhabiting the Isthmus of Corinth he used to force the passersby to keep bending pine trees; but they were too weak to do so, and being tossed up by the trees they perished miserably. In that way also Theseus killed Sinis. Third, he slew at Crommyon the sow that was called Phaea after the old woman who bred it; that sow, some say, was the offspring of Echidna and Typhon. Fourth, he slew Sciron, the Corinthian, son of Pelops, or, as some say, of Poseidon. He in the Megarian territory held the rocks called after him Scironian, and compelled passers-by to wash his feet, and in the act of washing he kicked them into the deep to be the prey of a huge turtle. But Theseus seized him by the feet and threw him into the sea. Fifth, in Eleusis he slew Cercyon, son of Branchus and a nymph Argiope. This Cercyon compelled passers-by to wrestle, and in wrestling killed them. But Theseus lifted him up on high and dashed him to the ground. Sixth, he slew Damastes, whom some call Polypemon. He had his dwelling beside the road, and made up two beds, one small and the other big; and offering hospitality to the passers-by, he laid the short men on the big bed and hammered them, to make them fit the bed; but the tall men he laid on the little bed and sawed off the portions of the body that projected beyond it. So, having cleared the road, Theseus came to Athens.https://ww
14 minutes | Feb 11, 2019
LP0101 ovMeta7-322 Medea & Aegeus
Legendary Passages #0101,Publius Ovidius Naso,Metamorphoses Book 7 ,Medea & Aegeus. Previously, Medea convinced the daughters of Pelias to slay their father. In this passage, they do just that, and Medea flies from Iolcus to Corinth to Athens, sowing chaos in her wake. After slaying Pelias, Medea and her dragons sail over Pelion, Orthrys, Pittane, Ida's grove, Eurypylus, Rhodes, Carthaea, Hyrie, Pleuron, Calauria, and Cyllene; all with their own legends. After burning the palace in Corinth, she came to Athens and married King Aegeus. When Theseus arrived, she brewed aconite, a poison from the very land where Hercules brought up from Hades the three-headed dog Cerberus. Finally, once father and son are reunited, the Athenians sing of the Labors of Theseus.Medea & Aegeus,a Legendary Passage from,Brookes More translating,Publius Ovidius Naso,Metamorphoses Book 7, - https://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses7.html#4 Three times Phoebus unyoked his steeds after their plunge in Ebro's stream, and on the fourth night stars shown brilliant on the dark foil of the sky, and then the treacherous daughter of Aeetes set some clear water over a hot fire and put in it herbs of no potency. And now a death-like sleep held the king down, his body all relaxed, and with the king his guards, a sleep which incantations with the potency of magic words had given. The sad king's daughters, as they had been bid, were in his room, and with Medea stood around his bed. "Why do you hesitate,” Medea said. “You laggards, come and draw your swords; let out his old blood that I may refill his empty veins again with young blood. In your hands your father's life and youth are resting. You, his daughters, must have love for him, and if the hopes you have are not all vain, come, do your duty by your father; drive out old age at the point of your good weapons; and let out his blood enfeebled—cure him with the stroke of iron.” Spurred on by these words, as each one of them was filial she became the leader in the most unfilial act, and that she might not be most wicked did the wicked deed. Not one could bear to see her own blows, so they turned their eyes away; and every face averted so, they blindly struck him with their cruel hands. The old man streaming with his blood, still raised himself on elbow, and half mangled tried to get up from his bed; with all those swords around him, he stretched out his pale arms and he cried: “What will you do, my daughters? What has armed you to the death of your loved father?” Their wrong courage left them, and their hands fell. When he would have said still more, Medea cut his throat and plunged his mangled body into boiling water. Only because her winged dragons sailed swiftly with her up to the lofty sky, escaped Medea punishment for this unheard of crime. Her chariot sailed above embowered Pelion—long the lofty home of Chiron—over Othrys, and the vale made famous where Cerambus met his fate. Cerambus, by the aid of nymphs, from there was wafted through the air on wings, when earth was covered by the overwhelming sea—and so escaped Deucalion's flood, uncrowned. She passed by Pittane upon the left, with its huge serpent-image of hard stone, and also passed the grove called Ida's, where the stolen bull was changed by Bacchus' power into a hunted stag—in that same vale Paris lies buried in the sand; and over fields where Mera warning harked, Medea flew; over the city of Eurypylus upon the Isle of Cos, whose women wore the horns of cattle when from there had gone the herd of Hercules; and over Rhodes beloved of Phoebus, where Telchinian tribes dwelt, whose bad eyes corrupting power shot forth;—Jove, utterly despising, thrust them deep beneath his brother's waves; over the walls of old Carthaea, where Alcidamas had seen with wonder a tame dove arise from his own daughter's body. And she saw the lakes of Hyrie in Teumesia's Vale, by swans frequented—There to satisfy his love for Cycnus, Phyllius gave two living vultures: shell for him subdued a lion, and delivered it to him; and mastered a great bull, at his command; but when the wearied Phyllius refused to render to his friend the valued bull. Indignant, the youth said, “You shall regret your hasty words;” which having said, he leaped from a high precipice, as if to death; but gliding through the air, on snow-white wings, was changed into a swan—Dissolved in tears, his mother Hyrie knew not he was saved; and weeping, formed the lake that bears her name. And over Pleuron, where on trembling wings escaped the mother Combe from her sons, Medea flew; and over the far isle Calauria, sacred to Latona.—She beheld the conscious fields whose lawful king, together with his queen were changed to birds. Upon her right Cyllene could be seen; there Menephon, degraded as a beast, outraged his mother. In the distance, she beheld Cephisius, who lamented long his hapless grandson, by Apollo changed into a bloated sea-calf. And she saw the house where king Eumelus mourned the death of his aspiring son.—MEDEA AND AEGEUS Borne on the wings of her enchanted dragons, she arrived at Corinth, whose inhabitants, 'tis said, from many mushrooms, watered by the rain sprang into being. There she spent some years. But after the new wife had been burnt by the Colchian witchcraft and two seas had seen the king's own palace all aflame, then, savagely she drew her sword, and bathed it in the blood of her own infant sons; by which atrocious act she was revenged; and she, a wife and mother, fled the sword of her own husband, Jason. On the wings of her enchanted Titan Dragons borne, she made escape, securely, nor delayed until she entered the defended walls of great Minerva's city, at the hour when aged Periphas—transformed by Jove, together with his queen, on eagle wings flew over its encircling walls: with whom the guilty Halcyone, skimming seas safely escaped, upon her balanced wings. And after these events, Medea went to Aegeus, king of Athens, where she found protection from her enemies for all this evil done. With added wickedness Aegeus, after that, united her to him in marriage.— All unknown to him came Theseus to his kingly court.—Before the time his valor had established peace on all the isthmus, raved by dual seas. Medea, seeking his destruction, brewed the juice of aconite, infesting shores of Scythia, where, 'tis fabled, the plant grew on soil infected by Cerberian teeth. There is a gloomy entrance to a cave, that follows a declivitous descent: there Hercules with chains of adamant dragged from the dreary edge of Tartarus that monster-watch-dog, Cerberus, which, vain opposing, turned his eyes aslant from light—from dazzling day. Delirious, enraged, that monster shook the air with triple howls; and, frothing, sprinkled as it raved, the fields, once green—with spewing of white poison-foam. And this, converted into plants, sucked up a deadly venom with the nourishment of former soils, -- from which productive grew upon the rock, thus formed, the noxious plant; by rustics, from that cause, named aconite. Medea worked on Aegeus to present his own son, Theseus, with a deadly cup of aconite; prevailing by her art so that he deemed his son an enemy. Theseus unwittingly received the cup, but just before he touched it to his lips, his father recognized the sword he wore, for, graven on its ivory hilt was wrought a known device—the token of his race. Astonished, Aegeus struck the poison-cup from his devoted son's confiding lips. Medea suddenly escaped from death, in a dark whirlwind her witch-singing raised.AEACUS & THE MYRMIDONS Recoiling from such utter wickedness, rejoicing that his son escaped from death, the grateful father kindled altar-fires, and gave rich treasure to the living Gods.—He slaughtered scores of oxen, decked with flowers and gilded horns. The sun has never shone upon a day more famous in that land, for all the elders and the common folk united in festivities,—with wine inspiring wit and song;—"O you,” they sang, “Immortal Theseus, victory was yours!Did you not slaughter the huge bull of Crete?Yes, you did slay the boar of Cromyon—where now the peasant unmolested plows;And Periphetes, wielder of the club,was worsted when he struggled with your strength;And fierce Procrustes,matched with you beside the rapid river, met his death;And even Cercyon, in Eleusis lost his wicked life—inferior to your might;And Sinis, a monstrosity of strength,who bent the trunks of trees, and used his mightAgainst the world for everything that's wrong.For evil, he would force down to the earth,Pine tops to shoot men's bodies through the air.Even the road to Megara is safe,For you did hurl the robber Scyron,—sheer—over the cliff.Both land and sea deniedHis bones a resting place—as tossed about they changed into the cliffs that bear his name.How can we tell the number of your deeds,—deeds glorious, that now exceed your years!For you, brave hero, we give public thanks and prayers;to you we drain our cups of wine!”And all the palace rings with happy songs, and with the grateful prayers of all the people. And sorrow in that city is not known.— But pleasure always is alloyed with grief, and sorrow mingles in the joyous hour. While the king Aegeus and his son rejoiced, Minos prepared for war.https://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses7.html#5 This passage continues with Minos and Aeacus, but our next episode returns to the Kings of Athens.
15 minutes | Jan 30, 2019
LP0100 dsLoH4-56-3 The Birth of Theseus
Legendary Passages #0100,Diodorus Siculus,Library of History [4.56.3],The Birth of Theseus. The next 25 episodes cover the early adventures of Theseus, son of Aegeus. In this passage, he journeys to Athens to be recognized by his father. But first, this passage continues from last episode with an alternate route of the Argonauts around the Iberian Peninsula. Then, the sons of Heracles fought wars against Eurystheus, Mycenae, Troy, and the Dorian Invasion. Finally, Theseus was born to Aethra, daughter of Pittheus. On the way to Athens, he slew Corynetes the Clubber, Sinis the Pine-Bender, the Crommyonian Sow, Sceiron of Megara, Cercyon the Wrestler, and Procrustes the Stretcher. Once recognized, Theseus and Aegeus sacrificed the Marathonian bull, the sire of the Minotaur...The Birth of Theseus,a Legendary Passage from,C. H. Oldfather translating,Diodorus Siculus,Library of History,[4.56.3] - [4.59.6]https://www.theoi.com/Text/DiodorusSiculus4C.html#18THE ARGONAUTS ALTERNATE ROUTES Not a few both of the ancient historians and of the later ones as well, one of whom is Timaeus, say that the Argonauts, after the seizure of the fleece, learning that the mouth of the Pontus had already been blockaded by the fleet of Aeëtes, performed an amazing exploit which is worthy of mention. They sailed, that is to say, up the Tanaïs river as far as its sources, and at a certain place they hauled the ship overland, and following in turn another river which flows into the ocean they sailed down it to the sea; then they made their course from the north to the west, keeping the land on the left, and when they had arrived near Gadeira (Cadiz) they sailed into our sea. And the writers even offer proofs of these things, pointing out that the Celts who dwell along the ocean venerate the Dioscori above any of the gods, since they have a tradition handed down from ancient times that these gods appeared among them coming from the ocean. Moreover, the country which skirts the ocean bears, they say, not a few names which are derived from the Argonauts and the Dioscori. And likewise the continent this side of Gadeira contains visible tokens of the return voyage of the Argonauts. So, for example, as they sailed about the Tyrrhenian Sea, when they put in at an island called Aethaleia they named its harbour, which is the fairest of any in those regions, Argoön after their ship, and such has remained its name to this day. In like manner to what we have just narrated a harbour in Etruria eight hundred stades from Rome was named by them Telamon, and also at Phormia in Italy the harbour Aeëtes, which is now known as Caeëtes. Furthermore when they were driven by winds to the Syrtes and had learned from Triton, who was king of Libya at that time, of the peculiar nature of the sea there, upon escaping safe out of the peril they presented him with the bronze tripod which was inscribed with ancient characters and stood until rather recent times among the people of Euhesperis. We must not leave unrefuted the account of those who state that the Argonauts sailed up the river Ister river as far as its sources and then, by its arm which flows in the opposite direction, descended to the Adriatic Gulf. For time has refuted those who assumed that the Ister which empties by several mouths into the Pontus and the Ister which issues into the Adriatic flow from the same regions. As a matter of fact, when the Romans subdued the nation of the Istrians it was discovered that the latter river has its sources only forty stades from the sea. But the cause of the error on the part of the historians was, they say, the identity in name of the two rivers.THE HERACLEIDAE AND EURYSTHEUS Since we have sufficiently elaborated the history of the Argonauts and the deeds accomplished by Heracles, it may be appropriate also to record, in accordance with the promise we made, the deeds of his sons. Now after the deification of Heracles his sons made their home in Trachis at the court of Ceÿx the king. But later, when Hyllus and some of the others had attained manhood, Eurystheus, being afraid lest, after they had all come of age, he might be driven from his kingdom at Mycenae, decided to send the Heracleidae into exile from the whole of Greece. Consequently he served notice upon Ceÿx, the king, to banish both the Heracleidae and the sons of Licymnius, and Iolaüs as well and the band of Arcadians who had served with Heracles on his campaigns, adding that, if he should fail to do these things, he must submit to war. But the Heracleidae and their friends, perceiving that they were of themselves not sufficient in number to carry on a war against Eurystheus, decided to leave Trachis of their own free will, and going about among the most important of the other cities they asked them to receive them as fellow-townsmen. When no other city had the courage to take them in, the Athenians alone of all, such being their inborn sense of justice, extended a welcome to the sons of Heracles, and they settled them and their companions in the flight in the city of Tricorythus, which is one of the cities of what is called the Tetrapolis. And after some time, when all the sons of Heracles had attained to manhood and a spirit of pride sprang up in the young men because of the glory of descent from Heracles, Eurystheus, viewing with suspicion their growing power, came up against them with a great army. But the Heracleidae, who had the aid of the Athenians, chose as their leader Iolaüs, the nephew of Heracles, and after entrusting to him and Theseus and Hyllus the direction of the war, they defeated Eurystheus in a pitched battle. In the course of the battle the larger part of the army of Eurystheus was slain and Eurystheus himself, when his chariot was wrecked in the flight, was killed by Hyllus, the son of Heracles; likewise the sons of Eurystheus perished in the battle to a man. After these events all the Heracleidae, now that they had conquered Eurystheus in a battle whose fame was noised abroad and were well supplied with allies because of their success, embarked upon a campaign against Peloponnesus with Hyllus as their commander. Atreus, after the death of Eurystheus, had taken over the kingship in Mycenae, and having added to his forces the Tegeatans and certain other peoples as allies, he went forth to meet the Heracleidae. When the two armies were assembled at the Isthmus, Hyllus, Heracles’ son challenged to single combat any one of the enemy who would face him, on the agreement that, if Hyllus should conquer his opponent, the Heracleidae should receive the kingdom of Eurystheus, but that, if Hyllus were defeated, the Heracleidae would not return to Peloponnesus for a period of fifty years. Echemus, the king of the Tegeatans, came out to meet the challenge, and in the single combat which followed Hyllus was slain and the Heracleidae gave up, as they had promised, their effort to return and made their way back to Tricorythus. Some time later Licymnius and his sons and Tlepolemus, the son of Heracles, made their home in Argos, the Argives admitting them to citizenship of their own accord; but all the rest who had made their homes in Tricorythus, when the fifty-year period had expired, returned to the Peloponnesus. Their deeds we shall record when we have come to those times. Alcmenê returned to Thebes, and when some time later she vanished from sight she received divine honours at the hands of the Thebans. The rest of the Heracleidae, they say, came to Aegimius, the son of Dorus, and demanding back the land which their father had entrusted to him made their home among the Dorians.THE EXILE OF TLEPOLEMUS But Tlepolemus, the son of Heracles, while he dwelt in Argos, slew Licymnius, the son of Electryon, we are told, in a quarrel over a certain matter, and being exiled from Argos because of this murder changed his residence to Rhodes. The island was inhabited at that time by Greeks who had been planted there by Triopas, the son of Phorbas. Accordingly, Tlepolemus, acting with the common consent of the natives, divided Rhodes into three parts and founded there three cities, Lindus, Ielysus (Ialysus), and Cameirus; and he became king over all the Rhodians, because of the fame of his father Heracles, and in later times took part with Agamemnon in the war against Troy.THE BIRTH OF THESEUS But since we have set forth the facts concerning Heracles and his descendants, it will be appropriate in this connexion to speak of Theseus, since he emulated the Labours of Heracles. Theseus, then, was born of Aethra, the daughter of Pittheus, and Poseidon, and was reared in Troezen at the home of Pittheus, his mother’s father, and after he had found and taken up the tokens which, as the myths relate, had been placed by Aegeus beneath a certain rock, he came to Athens. And taking the road along the coast, as men say, since he emulated the high achievements of Heracles, he set out performing Labours which would bring him both approbation and fame.THESEUS AND THE ROAD TO ATHENS The first, then, whom he slew was he who was called Corynetes, who carried a korynê, as it was called, or club which was the weapon with which he fought, and with it killed any who passed by, and the second was Sinis who made his home on the Isthmus. Sinis, it should be explained, use to bend over two pines, fasten one arm to each of them, and then suddenly release the pines, the result being that the bodies were pulled asunder by the force of the pines and the unfortunate victims met a death of great vengeance. For his third deed he slew the wild sow which had its haunts about Crommyon, a beast which excelled in both ferocity and size and was killing many human beings. Then he punished Sceiron who made his home in the rocks of Megaris which are called after him the Sceironian Rocks. This man, namely, made it his practice to compel those who passed by to wash his feet at a precipitous place, and then, suddenly giving them a kick, he would roll them down the crags into the sea at a place called Chelonê (Turtle). And near Eleusis he slew Cercyon, who wrestled with those who passed by and killed whomever he could defeat. After this he put to death Procrustes, as he was called, who dwelt i
15 minutes | Dec 31, 2018
LP0099 -XXV ARGO- The End of the Argo, from Diodorus' Library of History
Legendary Passages #0099 -XXV ARGO-The End of the Argo, from Diodorus' Library of History. Previously, Medea tricked the daughters of Pelias into killing their own father. In this passage, the Argonauts take over Iolcus, and Jason hands the kingdom over to Acastus, the king's son. Jason and Medea live happily in Corinth, but Jason stets aside his wife to marry the daughter of Creon, so Medea sneaks into the palace with a magic root that burns the palace to ash. Finally, Medea cured Heracles of his madness, and then came to Athens and married King Aegeus. When his son Theseus arrived she was exiled, and eventually returned home to Colchus.http://www.theoi.com/Text/DiodorusSiculus4C.html#14The End of the Argo,a Legendary Passage from,DIODORUS SICULUS,LIBRARY OF HISTORY,BOOK IV. Sections 52 - 56,trans. by C. H. OLDFATHER.[4.52.4] - [4.56.2] After Pelias had been slain in this way, Medea, they say, took no part in cutting the body to pieces or in boiling it, but pretending that she must first offer prayers to the moon, she caused the maidens to ascend with lamps to the highest part of the roof of the palace, while she herself took much time repeating a long prayer in the Colchian speech, thus affording an interval to those who were to make the attack. Consequently the Argonauts, when from their look-out they made out the fire, believing that the slaying of the king had been accomplished, hastened to the city on the run, and passing inside the walls entered the palace with drawn swords and slew such guards as offered opposition. The daughters of Pelias, who had only at that moment descended from the roof to attend to the boiling of their father, when they saw to their surprise both Jason and the chieftains in the palace, were filled with dismay at what had befallen them; for it was not within their power to avenge themselves on Medea, nor could they by deceit make amends for the abominable act which they had done. Consequently the daughters, it is related, were about to make an end of their lives, but Jason, taking pity upon their distress, restrained them, and exhorting them to be of good courage, showed them that it was not from evil design that they had done wrong but it was against their will and because of deception that they had suffered the misfortune. Jason now, we are informed, promising all his kindred in general that he would conduct himself honourably and magnanimously, summoned the people to an assembly. And after defending himself for what he had done and explaining that he had only taken vengeance on men who had wronged him first, inflicting a less severe punishment on them than the evils he himself had suffered, he bestowed upon Acastus, the son of Pelias, the ancestral kingdom, and as for the daughters of the king, he said that he considered it right that he himself should assume the responsibility for them. And ultimately he fulfilled his promise, they say, by joining them all in marriage after a time to the most renowned men. Alcestis, for instance, the eldest he gave in marriage to Admetus of Thessaly, the son of Pheres, Amphinomê to Andraemon, the brother of Leonteus, Euadnê to Canes, who was the son of Cephalus and king at that time of the Phocians. These marriages he arranged at a later period; but at the time in question, sailing together with the chieftains to the Isthmus of Peloponnesus, he performed a sacrifice to Poseidon and also dedicated to the god the ship Argo. And since he received a great welcome at the court of Creon, the king of the Corinthians, he became a citizen of that city and spent the rest of his days in Corinth.THE FOUNDING OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES When the Argonauts were on the point of separating and departing to their native lands, Heracles, they say, proposed to the chieftains that, in view of the unexpected turns fortune takes, they should exchange oaths among one another to fight at the side of anyone of their number who should call for aid; and that, furthermore, they should choose out the most excellent place in Greece, there to institute games and a festival for the whole race, and should dedicate the games to the greatest of the gods, Olympian Zeus. After the chieftains had taken their oath concerning the alliance and had entrusted Heracles with the management of the games, he, they say, picked the place for the festival on the bank of the Alpheius river in the land of the Eleans. Accordingly, this place beside the river he made sacred to the greatest of the gods and called it Olympia after his appellation. When he had instituted horse-raced and gymnastic contests, he fixed the rules governing the events and then dispatched sacred commissioners to announce to the cities the spectacle of the games. And although Heracles had won no moderate degree of fame because of the high esteem in which he was held by the Argonauts throughout their expedition, to this was now added the glory of having founded the festival at Olympia, so that he was the most renowned man among all the Greeks and, known as he was in almost every state, there were many who sought his friendship and who were eager to share with him in every danger. And since he was an object of admiration because of his bravery and his skill as a general, he gathered a most powerful army and visited all the inhabited world, conferring his benefactions upon the race of men, and it was in return for these that with general approval he received the gift of immortality. But the poets, following their custom of giving a tale of wonder, have recounted the myth that Heracles, single-handed and without the aid of armed forces, performed the Labours which are on the lips of all.JASON AND MEDEA IN CORINTH But we have now recounted all the myths which are told about this god, and at this time must add what remains to be said about Jason. The account runs like this:– Jason made his home in Corinth and living with Medea as his wife for ten years he begat children by her, the two oldest, Thessalus and Alcimenes, being twins, and the third, Tisandrus, being much younger than the other two. Now during this period, we are informed, Medea was highly approved by her husband, because she not only excelled in beauty but was adorned with modesty and every other virtue; but afterward, as time more and more diminished her natural comeliness, Jason, it is said, became enamoured of Glaucê, Creon’s daughter, and sought the maiden’s hand in marriage. After her father had given his consent and had set a day for the marriage, Jason, they say, at first tried to persuade Medea to withdraw from their wedlock of her free-will; for, he told her, he desired to marry the maiden, not because he felt his relations with Medea were beneath him, but because he was eager to establish a kinship between the king’s house and his children. But when his wife was angered and called upon the gods who had been the witnesses of their vows, they say that Jason, disdaining the vows, married the daughter of the king. Thereupon Medea was driven out of the city, and being allowed by Creon but one day to make the preparations for her exile, she entered the palace by night, having altered her appearance by means of drugs, and set fire to the building by applying to it a little root which had been discovered by her sister Circê and had the property that when it was kindled it was hard to put out. Now when the palace suddenly burst into flames, Jason quickly made his way out if it, but as for Glaucê and Creon, the fire hemmed them in on all sides and they were consumed by it. Certain historians, however, say that the son of Medea brought to the bride gifts which had been anointed with poisons, and that when Glaucê took them and put them about her body both she herself met her end and her father, when he ran to help her and embraced her body, likewise perished. Although Medea had been successful in her first undertakings, yet she did not refrain, so we are told, from taking her revenge upon Jason. For she had come to such a state of rage and jealousy, yes, even of savageness, that, since he had escaped from the peril which threatened him at the same time as his bride, she determined, by the murder of the children of them both, to plunge him into the deepest misfortunes; for, except for the one son who made his escape from her, she slew the other sons and in company with her most faithful maids fled in the dead of night from Corinth and made her way safely to Heracles in Thebes. Her reason for doing so was that Heracles had acted as a mediator in connection with the agreements which had been entered into in the land of the Colchians and had promised to come to her aid if she should ever find them violated. Meanwhile, they go on to say, in the opinion of everyone Jason, in losing children and wife, had suffered only what was just; consequently, being unable to endure the magnitude of the affliction, he put an end to his life. The Corinthians were greatly distressed at such a terrible reversal of fortune and were especially perplexed about the burial of the children. Accordingly, they dispatched messengers to Pytho to inquire of the god what should be done with the bodies of the children, and the Pythian priestess commanded them to bury the children in the sacred precinct of Hera and to pay them the honours which are recorded to heroes. After the Corinthians had performed this command, Thessalus, they say, who had escaped being murdered by his mother, was reared as a youth in Corinth and then removed to Iolcus, which was the native land of Jason; and finding on his arrival that Acastus, the son of Pelias, had recently died, he took over the throne which belonged to him by inheritance and called the people who were subject to himself Thessalians after his own name. I am not unaware that this is not the only explanation given of the name the Thessalians bear, but the fact is that the other accounts which have been handed down to us are likewise at variance with one another, and concerning these we shall speak on a more appropriate occasion.MEDEA AND AEGEUS Now as for Medea, they say, on finding upon her arrival in Thebes that Heracles was possessed of a frenzy of madness and had slain his sons, she restored him to he
14 minutes | Nov 17, 2018
LP0098 -XXIV ARGO- Medea & The Argo, from The Library of Apollodorus
Legendary Passages #0098 -XXIV ARGO-Medea & The Argo, from The Library of Apollodorus. Previously, the Argonauts had many adventures on their quest to obtain the Golden Fleece. In this passage, Medea's own story comes to the forefront. Not only does she help Jason win the fleece, but slays her own brother to aid in their escape. After being purified for this deed by her aunt Circe, Medea weds Jason on the isle of the Phaeacians. Medea defeats the bronze giant named Talos on the isle of Crete; and when they return to Iolcus, tricks the daughters of Pelias into killing their own father, the king, to avenge Jason's family. Jason and Medea live in Corinth for ten years and had two sons, but he divorces her and marries the daughter of Creon. Medea poisons Creon and his daughter; and her own sons die at either her hand, or at the hand of the Corinthians. Medea lands in Athens and marries King Aegeus, but his son Theseus drives her away. She returns home to Colchis, kills her uncle, and then returns the throne to her father Aeetes.http://www.theoi.com/Text/Apollodorus1.html#9Medea & The Argo,a Legendary Passage from,PSEUDO-APOLLODORUS,BIBLIOTHECA, or THE LIBRARY,BOOK 1 Section 9,translated by J. G. FRAZER.[1.9.23] - [1.9.28] When the ship was brought into port, Jason repaired to Aeetes, and setting forth the charge laid on him by Pelias invited him to give him the fleece. The other promised to give it if single-handed he would yoke the brazen-footed bulls. These were two wild bulls that he had, of enormous size, a gift of Hephaestus; they had brazen feet and puffed fire from their mouths. These creatures Aeetes ordered him to yoke and to sow dragon's teeth; for he had got from Athena half of the dragon's teeth which Cadmus sowed in Thebes. While Jason puzzled how he could yoke the bulls, Medea conceived a passion for him; now she was a witch, daughter of Aeetes and Idyia, daughter of Ocean. And fearing lest he might be destroyed by the bulls, she, keeping the thing from her father, promised to help him to yoke the bulls and to deliver to him the fleece, if he would swear to have her to wife and would take her with him on the voyage to Greece. When Jason swore to do so, she gave him a drug with which she bade him anoint his shield, spear, and body when he was about to yoke the bulls; for she said that, anointed with it, he could for a single day be harmed neither by fire nor by iron. And she signified to him that, when the teeth were sown, armed men would spring up from the ground against him; and when he saw a knot of them he was to throw stones into their midst from a distance, and when they fought each other about that, he was taken to kill them. On hearing that, Jason anointed himself with the drug, and being come to the grove of the temple he sought the bulls, and though they charged him with a flame of fire, he yoked them. And when he had sowed the teeth, there rose armed men from the ground; and where he saw several together, he pelted them unseen with stones, and when they fought each other he drew near and slew them. But though the bulls were yoked, Aeetes did not give the fleece; for he wished to burn down the Argo and kill the crew. But before he could do so, Medea brought Jason by night to the fleece, and having lulled to sleep by her drugs the dragon that guarded it, she possessed herself of the fleece and in Jason's company came to the Argo. She was attended, too, by her brother Apsyrtus. And with them the Argonauts put to sea by night. When Aeetes discovered the daring deeds done by Medea, he started off in pursuit of the ship; but when she saw him near, Medea murdered her brother and cutting him limb from limb threw the pieces into the deep. Gathering the child's limbs, Aeetes fell behind in the pursuit; wherefore he turned back, and, having buried the rescued limbs of his child, he called the place Tomi. But he sent out many of the Colchians to search for the Argo, threatening that, if they did not bring Medea to him, they should suffer the punishment due to her; so they separated and pursued the search in diverse places. When the Argonauts were already sailing past the Eridanus river, Zeus sent a furious storm upon them, and drove them out of their course, because he was angry at the murder of Apsyrtus. And as they were sailing past the Apsyrtides Islands, the ship spoke, saying that the wrath of Zeus would not cease unless they journeyed to Ausonia and were purified by Circe for the murder of Apsyrtus. So when they had sailed past the Ligurian and Celtic nations and had voyaged through the Sardinian Sea, they skirted Tyrrhenia and came to Aeaea, where they supplicated Circe and were purified. And as they sailed past the Sirens, Orpheus restrained the Argonauts by chanting a counter-melody. Butes alone swam off to the Sirens, but Aphrodite carried him away and settled him in Lilybaeum. After the Sirens, the ship encountered Charybdis and Scylla and the Wandering Rocks, above which a great flame and smoke were seen rising. But Thetis with the Nereids steered the ship through them at the summons of Hera. Having passed by the Island of Thrinacia, where are the kine of the Sun, they came to Corcyra, the island of the Phaeacians, of which Alcinous was king. But when the Colchians could not find the ship, some of them settled at the Ceraunian mountains, and some journeyed to Illyria and colonized the Apsyrtides Islands. But some came to the Phaeacians, and finding the Argo there, they demanded of Alcinous that he should give up Medea. He answered, that if she already knew Jason, he would give her to him, but that if she were still a maid he would send her away to her father. However, Arete, wife of Alcinous, anticipated matters by marrying Medea to Jason; hence the Colchians settled down among the Phaeacians and the Argonauts put to sea with Medea. Sailing by night they encountered a violent storm, and Apollo, taking his stand on the Melantian ridges, flashed lightning down, shooting a shaft into the sea. Then they perceived an island close at hand, and anchoring there they named it Anaphe, because it had loomed up (anaphanenai) unexpectedly. So they founded an altar of Radiant Apollo, and having offered sacrifice they betook them to feasting; and twelve handmaids, whom Arete had given to Medea, jested merrily with the chiefs; whence it is still customary for the women to jest at the sacrifice. Putting to sea from there, they were hindered from touching at Crete by Talos. Some say that he was a man of the Brazen Race, others that he was given to Minos by Hephaestus; he was a brazen man, but some say that he was a bull. He had a single vein extending from his neck to his ankles, and a bronze nail was rammed home at the end of the vein. This Talos kept guard, running round the island thrice every day; wherefore, when he saw the Argo standing inshore, he pelted it as usual with stones. His death was brought about by the wiles of Medea, whether, as some say, she drove him mad by drugs, or, as others say, she promised to make him immortal and then drew out the nail, so that all the ichor gushed out and he died. But some say that Poeas shot him dead in the ankle. After tarrying a single night there they put in to Aegina to draw water, and a contest arose among them concerning the drawing of the water. Thence they sailed betwixt Euboea and Locris and came to Iolcus, having completed the whole voyage in four months. Now Pelias, despairing of the return of the Argonauts, would have killed Aeson; but he requested to be allowed to take his own life, and in offering a sacrifice drank freely of the bull's blood and died. And Jason's mother cursed Pelias and hanged herself, leaving behind an infant son Promachus; but Pelias slew even the son whom she had left behind. On his return Jason surrendered the fleece, but though he longed to avenge his wrongs he bided his time. At that time he sailed with the chiefs to the Isthmus and dedicated the ship to Poseidon, but afterwards he exhorted Medea to devise how he could punish Pelias. So she repaired to the palace of Pelias and persuaded his daughters to make mince meat of their father and boil him, promising to make him young again by her drugs; and to win their confidence she cut up a ram and made it into a lamb by boiling it. So they believed her, made mince meat of their father and boiled him. But Acastus buried his father with the help of the inhabitants of Iolcus, and he expelled Jason and Medea from Iolcus. They went to Corinth, and lived there happily for ten years, till Creon, king of Corinth, betrothed his daughter Glauce to Jason, who married her and divorced Medea. But she invoked the gods by whom Jason had sworn, and after often upbraiding him with his ingratitude she sent the bride a robe steeped in poison, which when Glauce had put on, she was consumed with fierce fire along with her father, who went to her rescue. But Mermerus and Pheres, the children whom Medea had by Jason, she killed, and having got from the Sun a car drawn by winged dragons she fled on it to Athens. Another tradition is that on her flight she left behind her children, who were still infants, setting them as suppliants on the altar of Hera of the Height; but the Corinthians removed them and wounded them to death. Medea came to Athens, and being there married to Aegeus bore him a son Medus. Afterwards, however, plotting against Theseus, she was driven a fugitive from Athens with her son. But he conquered many barbarians and called the whole country under him Media, and marching against the Indians he met his death. And Medea came unknown to Colchis, and finding that Aeetes had been deposed by his brother Perses, she killed Perses and restored the kingdom to her father.http://www.theoi.com/Text/Apollodorus1.html#9 This passage continues with the story of Io, but our final passage brings us to the end of the Argonauts.
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